Beating the Brick and Mortar Retail Experience with Product Visualizers

Unlike shopping in-store, product visualizers allow customers to design their dream product on the spot.

When it comes to delivering a superior shopping experience, high-end retailers set the bar. Through careful listening, top sellers would tour you through the store, offering products that aligned with your desires.

Today, modern technologies stand to elevate the customer experience. Leading the way is the product visualizer: a custom ecommerce feature allowing customers to customize, interact with, and visualize products in situ.

Unlike shopping in-store, product visualizers allow customers to design their dream product on the spot. This rests in stark contrast to apps. Used by many a retailer to power ecommerce growth, apps provide a one-size-fits-all solution.

The beauty of product visualizers, configurators or kit builders lies in their customer-first design: you as the customer, getting a tool fitted for you. Take a look at how these five online retailers have led the way in service and conversion through product visualizers.

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Decorative Films Visualizer

When it comes to browsing product, a trip to a brick-and-mortar provides that hands-on experience ecommerce stores aim to recreate. Even still, no amount of accompanying product photography—or video—can serve up the same level of interaction as a product visualizer.

Enter Decorative Films LLC., distributor manufacturer of decorative glass enhancement privacy films. With signature product lines distributed through nearly 3,000 dealers, the specialized distributor manufacturer realized they needed more than just a mobile-friendly site.

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Miva designed a robust ecommerce site, coupling a conversion-optimized B2C shopping experience with a vanguard product visualizer to show their films in real-world settings. In three easy steps, the visualizer overlays a film of choice onto a typical scene—from home to the workplace, to a retail store and more.

“The industry-first visualizer allows customers to make quick decisions which translates into more conversions and a better overall customer experience” -Charl Berning, Managing Director, Decorative Films

The result? A tool which takes back the customer—and retailer—experience, showcasing the products’ potential.

3Rivers Archery Arrow Builder

Self-titled longbow and recurve experts 3Rivers Archery don’t just sell what they know; they actively put their products to the test. Just one glance at their well-maintained blog, a love letter to the sport, proves that work and play are one in the same for these arrow-wielding pros.

With just about everything an archery enthusiast could want, their catalog runs on end. In the hands of an even slightly inexperienced retail representative, the 3Rivers Archery brand—along with any other in the same position—could take a hit.

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3Rivers’ breakout arrow builder allows archery enthusiasts to design their own arrow. Using logic and detailed product information, this tool has simplified the immense catalog for both users and sales representatives alike.

Now, not only does the arrow builder enable customization; it empowers sales representatives to get a better grasp on the 3Rivers product set, converting more sales. Together with an upgraded site, this industry-first tool moved 3Rivers Archery from a non-responsive framework to a highly engaging experience, nabbing them the Blades Award for Best Enterprise Site.

Borsheims Ring Builder

Loved by engaged couples and Warren Buffet alike, Borsheims Fine Jewelry & Gifts has fulfilled the dreams of many for over 100 years. Founded in the late 1800’s, the jewelry company thrives off its original mission to offer “an extensive inventory and exceptional customer service at the lowest possible price”.

When Buffet added Borsheims to his renowned portfolio of companies, the company shot to new success. Determined to push the envelope on outstanding service for the turn of a new era, Borsheims knew they had to modernize their presence online.

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Borsheims’ forward-thinking ring builder allows shoppers to fully customize an engagement ring from the setting to the diamond’s shape. This real-time, interactive experience gifts shoppers an up-close and personal look at the ring impossible to replicate in-store. With extensive filters, Borsheims Ring Builder enables customers to pick their diamond based on several criteria.

This real-time experience, coupled with their unmatched variety and history of service, enables confident purchasing decisions on the spot.

ID Wholesaler Lanyard Builder

One big deterrent to customizing product: fear of sticker shock. ID Wholesaler, the leading ID badge printer and products retailer, worked to reduce hesitation through a product customization tool of their own: the lanyard builder.

ID Wholesaler’s lanyard builder mixed the two leading factors to their success: award-winning service and unbeatable selection.

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Featuring a simple, intuitive interface, the lanyard builder walks customers through a series of sections to complete their perfect lanyard. The visualizer shows a preview of the product real-time along with up-to-date pricing based on each customization.

Thanks to this builder, customers can bring their vision to life real-time—without any shocking surprises.

NHS Fun Factory Skateboard Builder

Before ecommerce was the product catalog, to which even preteen skaters were privy. Skating enthusiasts would tear through their beloved CCS magazine, circling their parts of choice to “build” their dream board.

NHS, Inc., the world’s premier skateboard distributing company, amassed a loyal following from these days—along with over 200 U.S. skateboard brands. With so many brands competing for shelf space and market share, NHS, Inc. needed a bold way to connect with their following.

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Miva worked closely with NHS to build a product configurator, allowing skate fans to design their board from the ground up. The Professional Services team worked to implement sophisticated rules and logic, making sense of all 1,000,000+ possible configurations.

The same attempt in-store would take at least 30 minutes retrieving and unwrapping each part, not to mention the knowledge required on product availability and compatibility. The award-winning skateboard configurator takes users step-by-step, canceling out products which do not fit together.

The result? The discovery of new brands and a custom-built skateboard waiting in their shopping cart—all within seconds.

The Bottom Line

Product visualizers enable higher conversion by removing the guesswork of the buying experience. Whereas the brick-and-mortar experience once set the standard for excellent service, modern technologies continue to raise the bar for what’s possible in ecommerce.

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About The Author

Che Elizaga

Cheryl Elizaga is a Brand Strategist and Copywriter with nearly a decade of experience catalyzing meaningful, measurable action for Fortune 100 companies and industry pioneers alike. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Cheryl helps ecommerce companies own their brand and harness the tools and technology of the leading Miva platform to drive growth.

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