3D configuration technology transforms products into three-dimensional models that can be viewed and customized in real-time. This process, facilitated by 3D product configurators, allows salespeople, customers, and engineers to interact with products as if they were in a virtual showroom. Users can rotate, zoom, and modify product attributes like components, colors, and dimensions.
The process begins with a 3D model of the product, which is integrated into the configurator for real-time customization. When a user changes a product attribute, the 3D model updates instantly. Despite its complexity, 3D configuration offers a seamless, user-friendly experience. It's an interactive alternative to traditional product catalogs, and it's automating numerous manual processes while revolutionizing product visualization.
The Benefits of 3D Configurators
Now that we've dissected what 3D configuration is and how it operates let's delve into why it's a crucial tool for businesses.
First and foremost, 3D product configurators enable users to comprehend complex products. They’re far more insightful than traditional 2D images or text descriptions, making complex products “easy to buy.”
By allowing users to interact with products in a dynamic, 3D space–whether that's rotating a couch or disassembling a complex piece of heavy machinery–these tools facilitate deeper understanding and engagement.
The increased clarity of 3D configuration can be the deciding factor in a customer choosing your custom solution over a competitor's. From real estate to automotive design, companies can unlock unprecedented sales potential.
105% increase in deal size
40% increase in conversion rate
26% increase in reps achieving quota
Enhanced customer experience
3D configurators elevate the shopping experience, transforming customers from passive observers to active participants in the product design process. A hands-on, immersive, and, frankly, enjoyable approach to configuration fosters a heightened sense of ownership and reduces purchase anxiety. The result: conversion rates increase by an average of 40%.
In fiercely competitive markets where differentiating products based on price or features is challenging, the better customer experience delivered by 3D configurators can be the key to standing out and securing customer loyalty.
Faster Sales Cycles
The traditional sales cycle for complex configurations is notoriously long. It involves an endless back and forth to clarify product details, engage customers, and explore engineering possibilities. Inevitably, potential customers drop off along the way.
3D configurators streamline this process. They allow customers to visualize and configure product details in real time and receive prices and quotes instantly.
It’s a win-win situation: Sellers close more sales while customers enjoy a more efficient process.
3D configuration reduces costs across multiple dimensions.
Crucially, because customers get a crystal-clear view of what they're purchasing, product specifications have fewer errors or misunderstandings. This leads to a dramatic drop in returns, waste, and substantial cost savings.
Furthermore, selling “virtually” reduces the need for physical locations and associated staff. These resources can then be funneled back into critical areas like research and development and automation.
3D configurators also reduce training time for new hires. Salespeople understand complex products more quickly when they can see how they’re assembled and get up to speed in weeks rather than months.
3D configuration allows you to rapidly introduce new product variations or models without the need for physical prototypes or extensive product photography. This can substantially cut down your time-to-market and enable you to sell a wide array of products you have never produced.
How 3D Configuration Drives Automation
3D product configuration is a pivotal feature of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software
, particularly in engineer-to-order businesses. A well-executed CPQ doesn't just allow users to configure a product; it triggers a series of automated processes that streamline operations across sales, engineering, and manufacturing.
For sales, a CPQ with 3D configuration can automate the generation of prices, quotes, and sales drawings. This eliminates the need for manual calculations and drafting, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.
On the engineering side, the technology can automatically generate CAD files, Bills of Materials (BOMs), and other necessary documentation. This automation speeds up the design process, ensures accuracy, and allows engineers to focus on more complex tasks.
Manufacturing also benefits from this automation. CNC cut sheets, assembly guidance, and parts lists can be auto-generated, simplifying the production process and reducing the likelihood of mistakes on the shop floor.
With Epicor CPQ, businesses can go straight from file to factory, creating a completely hands-off workflow. This level of automation can have a dramatic impact on efficiency and productivity.
For instance, Van Wijnen
, a Dutch construction company, managed to cut its sales time in half with Epicor CPQ
and reduce the time taken to generate a complete project from several months to just a few hours.
3D Configuration In Action: Repligen
Repligen is a leading bioprocessing-focused life sciences company. It has been at the forefront of drug innovation and production since 1981. It sells a vast range of products, some of which, like ProConnex® Flow Paths, a fluid management system, are highly configurable with hundreds of parts.
To increase speed and precision when configuring ProConnex® Flow Paths
, Repligen worked with Epicor CPQ to implement a visual 3D configuration solution. It transformed their engineer-to-order process.
This was the impact:
- Increased Sales Efficiency: 3D configuration enabled both seasoned salespeople and new hires to design complex, customer-specific products within minutes, not weeks.
- Enhanced Product Customization: The 3D product configurator enabled a higher degree of customization, meeting each customer's specific needs and improving customer satisfaction.
- Real-time Pricing Updates: Salespeople and customers receive accurate prices in real-time, accelerating sales cycles.
- Strategic Use of Resources: Repligen has reallocated its engineering resources to final product designs and production thanks to increased automation.
- Rapid Adoption: The configurator is functional and enjoyable to use, contributing to its swift adoption within the company.
The Impact of 3D Configuration on eCommerce Performance
- The market is skyrocketing: According to Forrester, the US B2B eCommerce market will grow to $3 trillion by 2027, up from $1.7 trillion in 2021.
- Buyer preferences are changing: McKinsey & Company found that 35% of decision-makers think B2B eCommerce is the most effective sales channel, beating in-person sales, which scored a 25% preference rate.
- Confidence is soaring: According to another McKinsey & Company report, 70% of decision-makers are willing to authorize eCommerce transactions amounting to as much as $500,000.
Needless to say, if you’re not prioritizing eCommerce, you really ought to be.
Standing Out and Scaling
Competing for visibility in the crowded Google search results is challenging for any business. 3D configuration technology gives you the edge needed to stand out. It not only creates a more engaging buying experience, but it also outputs top-notch, shareable marketing assets.
The benefits of 3D configuration don't stop there. Because it’s a scalable technology, it can effortlessly manage increasing customer numbers. So, as your business grows, you can rest assured the quality of your customer experience won't take a hit.
Plus, 3D configuration technology offers valuable insights into customer-product interactions. By monitoring customer behavior, you can fine-tune your products and messaging to better align with customer needs and expectations.
What’s Driving the Shift to B2B eCommerce?
Unlike B2C industries, the B2B world has been slow to capitalize on eCommerce. But this is changing rapidly. Three key factors are driving the shift:
- Digital Transformation: The emergence of SaaS platforms, cloud-based solutions, no-code tools, and APIs has significantly lowered the barriers to entry for eCommerce. It's simpler than ever to establish an online presence.
- Buyer Expectations: Today's B2B buyers are digitally savvy. They're used to the convenience of platforms like Amazon in their personal lives, and they want the same ease when researching products, comparing prices, and placing business orders. eCommerce and automation facilitate this.
- Global Competition: eCommerce provides B2B sellers a platform to reach a global audience. This not only opens up new markets and opportunities but also helps them stay competitive on an international scale.
Emerging Trends and Developments in 3D Configuration
As 3D configuration technology advances, several trends and developments are shaping its trajectory.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (and, to a lesser extent, virtual reality) is becoming an integral component of 3D product configurators. It enables customers to visualize products in situ, offering a more immersive experience and a better-informed buying decision.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is now playing a pivotal role in leading 3D configurators. Machine learning algorithms can analyze customer behavior and preferences, providing personalized product recommendations. Generative AI solutions can generate infinite 3D visuals with a single prompt, increasing speed, creativity, and innovation.
With the surge in the use of mobile devices for online shopping, 3D configurators are becoming increasingly mobile-friendly and even mobile-first. This capability allows customers to configure and visualize products anywhere, anytime, offering enhanced flexibility and convenience.
Some businesses are starting to integrate 3D configurators with additive manufacturing (3D printing technology). This enables users to not only customize products but also create a physical prototype.
Sustainability is a rising concern, and businesses are utilizing 3D configurators to propose eco-friendly alternatives to traditional products. Plus, selling configurable products instead of mass-produced ones reduces overproduction and material waste.
3D configuration is no longer a futuristic concept; it's a transformative reality. It's about letting customers interact with and customize products virtually, bringing their vision to life. It's also about automating every step from the shopping cart to the shop floor, eliminating errors.
With Epicor CPQ, you can leverage the power of 3D configuration to revolutionize your customer experience, enhance operational efficiency, and unlock new growth opportunities. If you’re ready to redefine how you configure, price, sell, and manufacture your products–don't wait. Contact Epicor CPQ today.
What is 3D product configuration?
3D product configuration is a technology that presents products in a three-dimensional space, allowing users to view them from all angles and customize them in real-time.
What is 3D configuration used for?
3D configuration is a versatile tool used in various industries to improve design, production, customer experience, and training. It enables customers, salespeople, and engineers to design and interact with products in real time.
How does a 3D product configurator work?
A 3D product configurator lets customers view and customize products in a virtual 3D environment. It provides real-time visual feedback as users select different options, enhancing their shopping experience. It enables companies to showcase product variations and help customers make confident purchase decisions.
What is the best 3D product configurator?
The best 3D product configurator is the one that’s right for your business. However, there are some features to look out for. These include dynamic pricing, CAD automation, augmented reality, and a no-code rules engine. Most companies also prefer a cloud solution that integrates easily with other core back-office systems.