How a 3D Product Configurator Boosts B2B Ecommerce Conversions

If the term “3D” conjures up images of janky cardboard glasses with one red lens and another blue, it’s time to rethink your relationship with 3D technology.

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    Because there’s a rapidly growing number of B2B companies who are embedding 3D product configurators into their websites, and they’re seeing a considerable conversion rate growth as a result, 3D may well have finally found its perfect partner in B2B eCommerce.

    What Is a 3D Product Configurator?

    A 3D product configurator is a powerful piece of software used to build (configure) products virtually, by selecting options within an interactive 3D interface. Accessible anywhere, via any device, a 3D product configurator allows for dynamic, visual updating of almost any product feature, such as adding or removing parts, changing dimensions and colors, and upgrading features – the list can be truly endless. A rules engine built into the backend of the software ensures that users’ configurations are always viable from an engineering and commercial standpoint.

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    The 10 Major Benefits of 3D Product Configurators

    1. They give customers a crystal-clear visual understanding of what they’re buying (no nasty surprises.) Buyers take full ownership of their configurations, understand every option available, and feel fully invested in their purchase decisions. Conversions increase and returns decrease as a result.
    2. They’re quick and easy to use – customers can intuitively point-and-click or drag-and-drop in three dimensions to rapidly assemble the most complicated, customizable products.
    3. They provide a fully immersive shopping experience that brings products to life and connects the customer to the brand on a deeper emotional level.
    4. They can be self-serve, reducing the burden on the sales department, avoiding many of the most menial, slow, and recurring sales tasks.
    5. Configurations can be sent to engineering in a language they understand, reducing the endless back-and-forth between sales and engineering departments that traditionally precedes a deal.
    6. Product and pricing rules built into the software eliminate human error, reduce rework and chargebacks, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
    7. Buyers can be guided subtly towards the configurations that are most profitable for the seller, via upsells and cross-sells.
    8. Gather valuable behavioral data as buyers interact with the software to inform better products and sales processes.
    9. They appeal to Millennials, the largest (and increasing) generation in the US labor force, who value self-education and advanced technology over high-touch, relationship selling.
    10. They can be rolled up into a CPQ solution to exploit the powerful, added benefits of intelligent pricing and automatic quote generation.

    What Is B2B eCommerce?

    B2B eCommerce is simply the sale of goods or services, business-to-business, through an eCommerce website. Already the mainstay of the B2C world, eCommerce is rapidly overtaking more traditional forms of B2B transactions. Forrester forecasts US B2B eCommerce will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023, accounting for 17% of all B2B sales. That’s huge.

    The 10 Key Benefits of B2B eCommerce (In a Nutshell)

    1. Increased global reach.
    2. Improved efficiency through cloud-based process integration (fulfillment, supply chain management, etc.)
    3. Higher customer satisfaction thanks to a more streamlined shopping experience.
    4. More effective use of upsells, cross-sells, and promotions.
    5. Greater trust instilled in new prospects as a result of customer reviews and feedback.
    6. Reduced overheads and increased sales efficiency.
    7. Advanced analytics.
    8. Straightforward catalog management.
    9. Millennial-buyer friendly.
    10. Clearer, detailed presentation of complex products.

    How Can a 3D Product Configurator Increase B2B Ecommerce Conversion Rates? 

    Elevated Customer Experiences Have to Be Visual

    When it comes to digesting and recalling information, research clearly shows that “Vision trumps all other senses.” 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual with visual information processed 60,000 times faster than text. Studies from the field of neuromarketing (sometimes known as consumer neuroscience,) meanwhile, demonstrate that introducing new sensory experiences into the buying process increases the monetary value a customer is willing to exchange for a product.

    The science is undeniable: If you want to engage your buyers fully, you need to do so in a compelling, visual way, and 3D is about as persuasive as it gets! Add AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) into the mix, and the immersive nature of the buying experience increases exponentially.

    With a 3D product configurator, you can bring a highly realistic, showroom-like experience to a global audience of buyers who no longer have to jump on a plane to visit you. They don’t even have to leave the comfort of their desks! You can resolve your buyers’ desire to physically interact with a product before purchase, and provide customization at scale.

    The Business Buyer Has Changed. Have You?

    The business buyer has changed. Amazon dominates their B2C eCommerce lives, and now they’re demanding the same instant, “have it your way,” personalized buying experience when they go to work too. This experience is precisely what a 3D product configurator can provide. Embedding a 3D product configurator into your B2B eCommerce site puts maximum power back into the hands of the customer. Buyers can experiment with configurations at their own pace, without an overbearing sales rep peering over their shoulder.

    How to Solve a Crisis of Confidence in Your B2B Buyers

    In the B2C world, consumers are far less likely to shop online for big-ticket items, like furniture, than they are for cheaper, everyday goods. The risks seem higher. Shopping in-store fosters a feeling of greater security – the customer can physically touch and feel the product (“will I seriously regret buying this?”), and carry out due diligence on the seller at the same time (“does this store look shady?”)

    This same phenomenon exists in the B2B world, where transactions far exceed the sums of B2C purchases. Is it any wonder, therefore, that B2B buyers are experiencing a crisis of confidence when it comes to large-scale purchase decisions? Interacting with products in a 3D space takes the edge of such pre-purchase anxiety, and conversion rates soar as a result.

    “It’s not customers’ confidence in suppliers, but customers’ confidence in themselves and their ability to make good buying decisions that are in critically short supply,” according to Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President of Gartner. There’s too much high-quality information out there (lots of it conflicting), and in-depth research only leads to analysis paralysis. Sellers compound the problem by chucking more, highly detailed information out there to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    Sellers can cut through all this noise with a 3D product configurator. The technology is a marked differentiator that appeals to visual learners (65% of the population) and the remainder of buyers desperate for a break from the endless technical jargon spouted by the vast majority of B2B companies.

    Kevin Jackson

    Kevin Jackson

    Kevin has over two decades of experience helping customers transform their manufacturing, product development, and sales.

    Posted in: B2B eCommerce