Technological advancements and shifting customer demands have sparked a significant transformation in product visualization in recent years. This is particularly evident in the B2B landscape, where today’s discerning buyers demand the ability to see and interact with complex, configurable products before committing to a purchase.
3D product visualization is an invaluable tool for manufacturers seeking a competitive edge. By captivating their target audience and simplifying complex sales processes, they can capture consumer attention and facilitate seamless transactions. This article delves into the reasons for its growing relevance.
Join us as we journey through the evolution of product visualization, highlighting its distinct benefits and key features that make it a potent driver for revenue generation and customer satisfaction.
What Is Product Visualization?
3D product visualization is a digital display method that creates 3D models of physical products–not only products that have been manufactured but those still at the conception stage.
Like most things, the rise of the internet has taken 3D product visualization to the next level, letting buyers view and interact with products from anywhere in the world, creating an engaging, transparent, and informative experience.
The Evolution of Product Visualization
The history of product visualization can be traced back to the early days of advertising when companies relied on illustrations and photographs to showcase their wares. But these 2D images often failed to capture the whole essence of the product, and customers had to rely on their imagination to fill in the gaps.
In the early 1960s, Ivan Sutherland developed the first 3D computer graphics program, Sketchpad. A significant breakthrough, Sketchpad allowed users to create and manipulate 3D objects on a computer screen, bringing “virtual” products to life for the first time.
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Today, manufacturers and other B2B businesses are starting to catch up with their B2C counterparts by putting 3D product visualization at the heart of their sales experience. They’re enabling customers to design products using a visual product configurator and see what the end result would look like in real life, from all angles, and under various lighting conditions.
Sales reps, customers, and prospects can use this interactive configuration platform to play around with color schemes, dimensions, materials, features, and more, making changes and seeing the impact in real time. They can use the experience to educate themselves on your products or place an instant order if the configurator is integrated with a B2B eCommerce platform.
The next era of 3D product visualization will use augmented and virtual reality to take the customer experience to new heights. Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital information in the real world, while virtual reality (VR) creates an entirely immersive experience. Both technologies can be used to create realistic and engaging 3D product visualizations.
Epicor CPQ already sets the bar high with its 3D product configurator that boasts a remarkable augmented reality feature. However, the landscape is poised to evolve even further with the forthcoming introduction of next-generation virtual reality headsets from Apple and its rivals.
These devices promise greater affordability and comfort, creating the potential for virtual reality to become the dominant configuration experience. Once more, Epicor CPQ is pioneering this innovative wave, driving the advancement of hyper-realistic visualization technology.
Benefits of 3D Visualization
3D product visualization lets you showcase your products in a way that’s both visually appealing and informative. You can highlight key features and benefits and give customers a more detailed understanding of their designs. This is hugely beneficial when dealing with complex and technical products that are difficult to explain using traditional 2D images.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Hyper-realistic 3D representations of products empower customers to make faster, more confident purchasing decisions. They can see exactly what they’re buying before it rolls off the production line, increasing conversion rates and reducing the likelihood of returns or complaints.
Customer delight builds relationships. Buyers are likelier to remember the experience, feel positive about your brand, and recommend you to others. 3D product visualization doesn’t just increase clarity; it makes the buyer’s journey more engaging and delightful, especially when combined with virtual or augmented reality.
Streamlined Configuration Process (with a 3D Product Configurator)
3D product visualization can transform a slow, confusing, disjointed product configuration experience into a fast, transparent, and integrated one. Using a 3D product configurator, sales reps and customers can quickly and interactively customize products according to their preferences, viewing the results instantly. This configuration automation saves significant time, especially when creating complex products requiring multiple iterations.
Improved Marketing and Sales
3D product visualization lets you quickly and easily develop captivating marketing content, giving you an edge over competitors. From dynamic videos to interactive demos, it offers unique ways to engage your audience, boost brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website (if you operate online.)
Moreover, by leveraging state-of-the-art technology to portray your product with realistic visuals, you position your company as a front-runner in technological advancement. This enhances your products’ perceived quality and value, making customers more willing to pay a premium price while reinforcing your brand image as an innovator in your industry.
Faster, Better, Cheaper Design and Engineering
3D product visualization plays a crucial role in enabling designers to identify and address potential product issues early, thus preventing costly mistakes during production.
By developing a highly realistic model of the product, you can minimize reliance on expensive physical prototypes or samples, which is particularly beneficial when dealing with configurable products that never go into mass production.
Furthermore, a visual representation of a product is a great way to enhance communication and collaboration between customers, sales reps, designers, engineers, and the shop floor. Traditionally, each party spoke a different “language” and used disparate and often incompatible tools. Visualization cuts through the confusion, aligning everyone around a singular product vision.
The rise and rise of 3D product visualization has revolutionized how businesses sell, design, and manufacture their products. It’s made products come alive in new ways, accelerated the B2B buyer’s journey, smoothed out convoluted and opaque product configuration processes, and provided a valuable asset to marketing.
And here’s the real kicker: With the inevitable invasion of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into mainstream tech, 3D product visualization is all set to rocket the customer experience to new heights. It’s an exciting time to be selling configurable products, and the companies that leverage 3D product visualization will reap the rewards.