June 2, 2020

Mediating Choice: How To Get The Best From 3D Product Configurator Software

The opportunity to customise products is an exciting prospect for today’s consumer. No longer content with the mass production model, in which everyone purchases the same or similar products, customers now prefer a more personalised shopping experience. This is where the implementation of 3D configurator software becomes a powerful device for brands seeking to drive sales through the offering of optimum customer experience.

Customer experience is at the heart of a brand’s reasoning for using 3D configurators. But if the software is not used to its full potential, or implemented in the right way by the brand, it could do more harm than good. As such, it is important to understand how to deliver the best experience through product configuration before pushing ahead.

Retail is the industry in which 3D product configuration is put to best use. Fashion, jewellery and footwear, homeware and furnishing, electronics and automotive all respond well to the 3D configuration model. Physical products are sold on a combination of features and aesthetics, both of which can be more effectively communicated when presented visually, and particularly in 3D.

Considering your target audience is also a key factor, but where the configurator is properly implemented and functions with the speed and ease intended, success can transcend the limiting factor of demographic targeting. Studies show that Millennials and Generation Z are particularly driven towards customisation of the products they buy, which is perhaps unsurprising. What is more surprising is that the 55+ age group are also keen on configuring products to their own specification, though they are even more responsive to customising services (such as financial products and holidays).

Whoever your target consumer is, there remain some universal truths. Principally, the issue of choice paralysis. When implementing customisation options of your products, it is best to limit the options available to a manageable number. Too much choice affects the ease at which customers can use the software, making the process confusing. Crucially, a glut of choice can also lead to problems with delivering the product effectively. It is more viable for the business to have a limited set of options to consider when putting together customised products, to ensure they are created and shipped quickly and simply, whilst maintaining the quality of the product itself.

Keeping the platform simple to use for the consumer is, therefore, paramount. We recommend using system recommendations within the website platform to suggest to customers which combinations are popular or work well together. Where certain options may be incompatible with one another, an explanation as to why this is keeps lines of communication open and transparent, delivering better customer experience. Keeping in touch with the customer, even as they work to devise the product they will buy, lets them know that their personal needs are a priority to you, that you care about them getting the best from your brand.

Remember, too, that customers will visit your site from a range of different sources. Whilst some will come directly through the desktop website, even more are likely to come via mobile. Having a mobile app of your own is a good idea, but working to ensure that the 3D configurator software on your website is functional and easy to use on mobile should be a priority. Whilst online shopping is extremely popular, you must not forget that most of your customers still experience your brand in-store. Ensuring that they have access to the software in person will maximise the amount of people experiencing the configuration tool.

Brands which use 3D configuration software to best effect have it available in store. The most popular way of doing so is to provide customer service staff in the store with tablets, which they can present to customers at point of sale, to offer them a visual representation of other versions of a product they have seen in store. The nurturing quality of face-to-face contact combined with the impressive capabilities of the software can be a very persuasive method for driving sales, and encourages repeat custom. A customer who has experienced the 3D configurator platform at point of sale may be more inclined to use it to order further products at a later date, thus demonstrating brand loyalty and repeat custom. Furthermore, the positive experience of using the platform with friendly assistance from staff in store heightens the probability of word-of-mouth recommendation, turning satisfied customers into proactive brand ambassadors.

Of course, to be certain that the options you are offering customers in the product customisation process are aligned with prevailing preferences, any good brand knows that data is key. The best 3D configurator software is intimately linked to, or incorporates its own, analytics tools. With the data gleaned from every interaction a customer makes with the platform, which options they choose, and how their journey progresses, your brand can analyse trends. These trends allow you to anticipate common preferences, to make your production cycles more efficient, leave you better prepared to foresee changes in demand and to inform future product offerings and options.

Your 3D configuration software should become a central part of your customers’ brand experience, particularly on the website. This will have a powerful impact on audience reach, whilst quietly driving home the message that your brand cares enough to meet the customer’s desire to purchase as a unique individual with their own preferences.

All of this boils down to delivering the best customer experience possible, something that all brands should strive to achieve. A satisfied customer is a returning customer, and acts as a vehicle for brand promotion that is perhaps more valuable than any advertising or marketing campaign.