There is a lot to think about when building a 3D product configurator. Not only do you have to consider what features will be showcased and how the tool will fit into your buyer’s journey, but you also must consider how to design and implement the configurator so that it adds value without weighing down the site or overwhelming the customer with tools that aren’t easy to use.
To get you started on dreaming up your new ecommerce experience, here are 5 best practices for building a 3D product configurator.
Invest in high quality art assets
While this may seem obvious, it is of highest importance when building a successful product configurator. The art assets are what the model will be built from, and the quality of the model is directly linked to the quality of the assets. Think about how your customer will perceive the model, and what their interpretation of your brand and products will be from viewing those models. If you do not portray quality, few customers will judge your actual product as a quality purchase.
Even if the configurator you are building does not need to be highly detailed, the base assets that you use should be of a high enough quality that a buyer on any device is able to properly assess the product for their needs.
The 3D environment should be highly visible and appropriately sized
Don’t go to the effort of building a configurator if you are going to make it a tiny part of the page; a tiny configurator makes for a poor buyer experience and drives far less value.
When designing your product page, think about what the buyer is looking for first, and what factors will help them make a purchase decision. Product specs are important, but 67% of consumers say that product imagery is very important to purchase decisions, and 50% rank them as more important than product descriptions or reviews.
By providing a product configurator, you are giving the buyer the opportunity to fully engage and evaluate your product in detail. Don’t make them struggle to use and view your exceptional models by shoving them into a tiny viewing portal. A product configurator should take up a large majority of the page width, if not the whole page, to be fully functional and useful for the customer.
Make Your Experience Cross Device Friendly
Consumers no longer rely solely on their desktop computers for their shopping needs; in fact, it is estimated that 50% of online shopping traffic is driven by mobile devices and accounts for 40% of ecommerce purchases. Brands cannot afford to have ecommerce experiences that are not cross device friendly. 79% of smartphone users reported that they have made a mobile purchase in the last 6 months. If your buyers are shopping on the go, they expect the same level of quality in experience that they see from your brand on all other channels. Delivering less than the expected level of quality, or not delivering across channels, will turn buyers off and translate into lost sales.
Responsive design means that your product and your web pages will look great across all devices, and function in a way that enhances the shopping experience instead of detracting from it or making it difficult for the consumer to find the information they need to make a purchase.
Make Your Product Configurator Accessible
A frequently overlooked but key attribute for building a digital experience is accessibility. The World Wide Web Consortium has defined standards for accessibility with their Web Accessibility Initiative which aims to help brands and organizations across verticals build sites and experiences that can be used and enjoyed by all.
Be sure to check out the W3C site and review the standards with your team to ensure that your site is accessible for all of your buyers. Have a suggestion to make the web more accessible? The W3C regularly seeks input from users, developers, and policy makers alike to continually improve the standards and practices.
Find the Balance of Great vs Gimmick
The benefit of 3D technology is that you can create a lot of cool experiences and features for your shopping experience. The threat of 3D is that it can be easy to overdo it with the features and create a mess instead of finesse.
As brands focus on making the shopping experience part of the larger brand vision and value, it can be tempting to offer every possible add on to the shopping experience to give buyers the wow factor. Deploying a 3D experience on your site can enhance the shopping process in unique, value adding ways, and even replace the need to visit a brick and mortar location for product exploration if done well. However, if the 3D feature you are looking to add does not add value to the shopper’s journey or provide them with new information regarding the product, then maybe that feature doesn’t need to be included.
Popular 3D features like animation or product explosion can be great for products that require movement or have unique attributes inside. A buyer looking at a mechanical product like an engine or a generator may want to look inside to see what makes it go; this probably isn’t the case for someone looking to buy a Keurig though. The addition of these features can also weigh down your site speed, which can mean a lesser experience for your buyer and the risk of visit abandonment if the load times are too slow. Choose which features add the most value to the buyer’s journey, and then optimize them for appearance and performance.
The same caution should be used when deploying augmented reality with your product experience. Adding a flashy experience that mimics the fun of AR in Pokemon Go can be tempting, but is that what your buyer needs to help them make a purchase decision? The end goal for the experience is to make a sale, so keep your buyer focused on the product and what it can do to fit their needs.
This is a lot to take in when it comes to building a 3D product configurator, but luckily for you there is a team that is well versed in making the best product configurators on the market, and they are here to help.