Online shoppers are inundated with products to buy. Click a link once and your buyers are followed around the internet for days, weeks, and even months by brands they’ve only shown a brief passing interest in. 

There’s never been more competition for our time or our money. And that’s why first impressions have never mattered more.

It’s up to brands to leave as little to the customer’s imagination as possible. You need to transform passing interest into “can’t live without it” quickly. Because if you don’t, your competitors are already prepared to step in and convert the customers that could have easily been yours.

3D experiences, like 3D product configurators, are proving to be one of the best ways to leave a lasting impression and generate serious demand. What’s more: your target buyers prefer these experiences. And your competition is likely already on its way to using these tools to its advantage.

What Are 3D Product Configurators?

A 3D configurator is an excitement-creating, demand-driving, customer-winning sales tool. Why? Because they’re interactive experiences that make product personalization and customization simple and wow customers.  

Why choose a 3D configurator? Your customers love 3D experiences. 

Research from Houzz, a home remodeling marketplace, found that visitors who viewed 3D images were more than 11 times more likely to make the purchase.

Unsure? Try it for yourself. 

How Does a 3D Configurator Work?

How do you get started with a 3D configurator? It couldn’t be easier.

3D configurators use photo-realistic images to generate an instant visualization of your products. So you need two things: optimized 3D images and your choice of 3D configurator software.

If you already have 3D images ready to go, you can skip to step two and work with a 3D configurator software solution to set up your new tools and deploy them to your website, mobile apps, or anywhere else.


1. Generate 3D Images

If you don’t have 3D images ready, you have three options: create them yourselves, outsource them to a creative team, or work directly with your chosen software provider to create optimized files (if available).

3D-rendered images don’t involve cameras, which is ideal because the practice can save you thousands — or even millions — on product photography. 

To create 3D images, we draw or scan physical objects using CAD software to generate models. We then turn the 3D model into a show-stopping photo-realistic image using textures, shadows, and lighting. 

Unlike product photography, 3D product visualization isn’t inhibited by limitations like physical sets or natural lighting. Using 3D images gives you total and complete control over the images you produce and reduces the chance of using inaccurate product visuals. 

The best photography teams in the world can’t guarantee what a creative team can consistently deliver with 3D images.

At Ocavu, we not only run one of the easiest-to-use 3D product configurators, but we also help our customers with the 3D creation process. You give us JPEGs, and then we’ll create the master 3D files and send them through our platform to create all the file types you need to deploy anywhere.

An infographic describing Ocavu's 3D creation process from collecting materials to the output of 3D files

How Ocavu’s 3D creation process works

One of Ocavu’s clients saved $1.5M and produced 2,000 images using our 3D creative services. Rather than sourcing 88 classic cars and installing 400 different tops for a photography shoot, they used virtual photography to generate a fantastic result.

3D car image

A 3D image produced for an Ocavu client

2. Choose Your 3D Product Configurator

There are a couple of ways to go about engaging customers with product configuration:

  • Work with a trusted 3D configuration vendor
  • Go the DIY route and build the 3D configurator yourself
  • Choose basic options built into your ecommerce provider’s platform

The option that delivers the most value to brands is to work with a vendor. There are plenty of options out there, but you should look for a vendor that:

  • Works seamlessly with your current platforms (ecommerce, CRM, etc.) so you can deploy quickly and measure the impact
  • Allows complex business rules for customization and pricing so the experience ‘wows’ customers without breaking your processes
  • Deploys to web browsers, mobile browsers, apps, and anywhere your customers tend to buy so you can meet them where they are
  • Offers templates and bulk editing so you can launch and manage 3D assets without a small army of helpers

Why 3D Configurators Translate to Unreal First Impressions for Online Shoppers

3D configuration can absolutely transform the impact generated by your online store. It can do things like: 

  • Increase your conversion rate by up to 4x
  • Grow your average order value (AOV) by 75%
  • Reduce your return rates by 30% and save $$$ on operations
  • Increase the time customers spend on your pages

These aren’t just general industry stats for customer engagement. Our customers have seen dramatic improvements across their sales and marketing KPIs and then some.

Here’s what’s powering those trends for early adopters of 3D and augmented reality:

Replace customer purchasing anxiety with excitement

As it turns out, having unlimited options from thousands of stores isn’t everything consumers ever wanted. Online shopping comes with anxiety that most consumers reckon with by saying, “At least I can return it if it doesn’t work out.” And then they do return those items, and all of a sudden, a sale is costing you money and creating chaos.

It’s up to brands to build trust and reduce the anxiety of buying, and there are plenty of methods for doing this from better-targeted ads to writing killer product descriptions. 

But ecommerce tools like configurators make all the difference.

Google itself says in its research on understanding how online shoppers buy: “When you can beat the competition, make sure you show it.” 

You can go further than that and replace anxiety with excitement by giving a 360-degree tour of your unique products and their stand-out features, you don’t just beat the competition. You win the customer.


Merge online and in-store experiences

There’s nothing like feeling the product you’ve been chasing in your hands. As much as consumers love e-commerce, they miss out on the feeling of exploring their new product in its entirety.

To that end, both your online and in-store experiences need to be a unified brand experience. Why? 

According to Shopify’s research on omni-channel selling  in 2022:

  • 54% of consumers say that they’re interested in looking at products online and buying in-store
  • 53% of consumers say they’d look at a product in your store and buy it online

3D product configurators blend the best of both worlds. As you can see here, they give customers options and let them explore product variations on their own terms.

Build even more engaging experiences

How easy is it to click away from your product pages? If you’re relying on product photos and text descriptions, then the answer is “very easy.”

By giving customers something to put their hands on, you’re keeping them on the page longer.

A 3D configurator is also an excellent base for augmented reality (AR) experiences. Shopify research from 2022 found that product pages with AR saw 94% more conversions than product pages without the function. Why? Because with AR, your customers can see how a product fits in their space, explore how to use it, and grow their confidence. They also spend much more time on the page, which grows their engagement.

At Ocavu, we’re big believers in web AR and appless experiences. Web AR helps you connect to any audience using web browsers on their mobile devices, either a smartphone or a tablet. 

See this sofa in 3D and tap “Try it in your space” for the web AR experience.


The typical AR experience deployed by a native app takes 2 minutes and 15 clicks to access. By going appless, you remove accessibility barriers, so you can focus on the upside.

AR and Web, AR in particular, are only just getting started in the e-commerce world. A survey from Mobile Marketer found that 52% of retailers said they weren’t ready to bring AR into their experiences. At the same time, 61% of customers surveyed by NielsonIQ said they prefer to shop with retailers.

The opportunity to pull ahead of the competition is clear. And Ocavu’s approach makes it easy.

Get Started with 3D Experiences in Minutes

Product configuration empowers product customization. And simple, beautiful configurators are increasingly becoming a must-have to meet customer demands.

Meeting these demands with a 3D configurator will help you drive sales and reduce return rates while delivering an experience that draws buyers in and keeps them coming back.

Are you imagining the possibilities that come with 3D experiences? Learn more about Ocavu’s easy to deploy 3D product configurator.