Product Visualization or 3D Configuration? Which One Works For Me?

Katherine McInnes
3D Configurator,
3D Visualizer
Sep 26, 2022

It isn’t a secret that great visuals are key to a successful eCommerce experience. Buyers are reliant on visual cues to choose products, and will search for confirmation that what they are purchasing is what they were searching for.

There are many ways to portray products online, from static photography, to augmented reality, but not all mediums deliver the same type of experience, or require the same level of effort to maintain. These are two areas in which traditional photography and videography can fall short: they provide shoppers with limited views and ability to explore the product, only showcasing what was shot during the photoshoot, and they require more effort to update when new features or offerings are added.

3D visualization allows brands to deliver more immersive product experiences for shoppers that accurately showcase each detail of a product, as well as the options available for shoppers to choose from. Colors, textures, and added features and parts can all be displayed and interacted with using product visualization software on a brand’s site.


The best news for brands? This software can be implemented for a variety of experiences, tailored to the product types and offerings that each brand has. 3D visual commerce solutions include product visualization, visual configuration, and augmented reality. Each of these solutions deliver a more immersive experience than standard photography alone, as well as more substantial business results.

So what is the best visual commerce tool for your brand? Do you need product visualization or 3D configuration?


What Is Product Visualization

Product visualization brings your products to life online and allows buyers to interact with and explore the details and features of items, much as they would in store. Allowing buyers to see products in 3D not only ensures that they can view the product from every angle, but encourages them to appreciate the details that make your product the right choice for them. 

Product visualizers can vary in their level of detail and functionality, however the goal should always be to showcase products as they appear in real life. Accurate product representations have proven to increase consumer confidence and decrease the rate of return across product categories. 22% of consumers have returned an item due to inaccurate product visuals. Given the high costs associated with returns, this represents a problem area that brands can quickly and effectively address with the implementation of 3D.

Product visualization delivers value for both the buyer and the seller in an ecommerce experience. The ability to view a product in high fidelity 3D allows a buyer to evaluate and confirm what a product will actually look like when it arrives. Additional features such as animations or annotations provide further insight into the product’s functionality or product attributes that are unique or value adds for the buyer. These forms of confirmation lead to increased confidence in purchase, making for a more enjoyable, less stressful shopping experience.

For brands, happier customers are always a win, as they often will come back for repeat purchases or spread the word about your products to friends and family. Shoppers are also more likely to pay up to 20% more for products they can experience in 3D or augmented reality and check out with 2X the average cart value.

Additionally, using product visualization software is often a cost savings for companies when compared to traditional photography and videography. Photoshoots are expensive in both a monetary and timing sense; they also are limited to capturing the product as it currently appears. Product updates, new features, or new styles require future shoots or a lot of time in photoshop (if possible) to accurately capture the product’s appearance. Product visualization software allows your team to quickly and easily update product visuals across the site and media channels by updating the 3D image to reflect the new product specs; no photoshoot needed.


When to Use a 3D Product Visualizer

If your products have a set configuration or if each product option is listed on its own page of the website, a product visualizer is an impactful tool for enhancing customer experiences and increasing conversion rates. A 3D visualizer is the best solution for products that:

  • Are available for purchase in a single configuration with set materials, textures, or colors

  • Do not offer customization or personalization

  • Have features or functions to be shown through hot spots or annotation

  • Benefit from being viewed in augmented reality

What Is 3D Visual Configuration?

What about products that are more complex or allow buyers to make one or more selections? 3D product configurators can be implemented within a brand’s existing site to create a fully immersive shopping experience that showcases each option and feature available for purchase.

Whereas product visualization is designed to display a single product configuration in an immersive environment, 3D configurators take the experience a step farther by allowing shoppers to choose and engage with product options such as colors, textures, and added features. There is no set number of options needed to make a visual configurator beneficial; even if the options are limited to colors, seeing the product as it will actually appear in 3D makes for a more satisfying customer experience. Customers want to be sure that the shade of red they are choosing is true to what they are looking for, or that the two colors they want will actually look how they intend once added to their product.


The benefits of 3D for eCommerce are amplified for products where additional parts, features, or specializations can be added. These are elements that can greatly affect the buyer’s overall experience with the product, both from a functionality standpoint and a monetary one. Enthusiastic customers may be tempted to add every feature available on their new purchase, but without seeing those additional features on the product as a whole, they may not be happy with what arrives on their doorstep. Conversely, a buyer may opt to skip a feature that would benefit them, but whose value is not clear when offered on the site.

When to Use A 3D Product Configurator

A 3D configurator is the best solution for products that:

  • Are offered in a variety of colors, materials, or textures

  • Have additional features, add ons, or components available for purchase

  • Can be customized or personalized

  • Have features or functions to be shown through hot spots or annotation

  • Benefit from being viewed in augmented reality

Product Visualization or 3D Configuration?


Data shows that product visualization and 3D configuration drive significant contributions to meaningful KPIs in ecommerce. Choosing the best 3D experience for a brand or product is the first step in achieving those results

If your product has a single set of options or you are looking to only showcase a single configuration per page, a product visualizer will deliver an exceptional customer experience and a true representation of your products on your site. If your products offer a variety of options or you are looking to give your buyers a more customized experience, a 3D configurator is a solid addition to your site. Both solutions are compatible with augmented reality to complete the full immersive buying experience.

Get in touch with one of our visual experts and see the impact that adding visualization software to your site can have. We’re excited to see what we will create for you.


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