As we bid farewell to 2023, it's time for a wrap-up – a moment to reflect on the milestones achieved and the path ahead. As transparency is fundamental to us, we're thrilled to share our reflections with you.
Key takeaways of 2023
Company, team, and market growth:
The team expanded from one person to four, including new marketing and software engineering roles.
We expanded the client base into Germany, Italy, and more.
We enhanced customer engagement through monthly newsletters and insightful blog content for outdoor living manufacturers and dealers. Website revamp for better clarity and accessibility, featuring a FAQ section.
Impact of our 3D configurators:
Customer feedback highlighted a significant conversion rate of 4.38 % with our 3D configurators compared to an average website conversion rate of 1.55 %.
Optimizations and new features:
We added an augmented reality feature allowing users to view their designs in real-time in their garden via smartphones.
We introduced a dealership module as an add-on to the 3D configurator to support dealers better. Three customers have already adopted it.
We redesigned the mobile app for a better user experience, emphasizing enhanced usability, design, performance, and overall user satisfaction.
The goal has been continuous improvement and innovation, evident in the growth of the team, expansion of services, and the impactful role of 3D configurators in enhancing customer engagement and conversion rates. The technical upgrades, especially the addition of augmented reality and dealership modules, have further enriched the user experience and support capabilities.
Business insights in 2023
Company, team and market growth
Our team evolved from a solo act to a group of four, welcoming Daphné for marketing, our first marketing intern, Tijmen, and two software engineers, Thomas and Peter, supporting our founder, Tom.
Expanding our horizons, we ventured beyond Belgian borders, engaging with clients in Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy.
Thanks to expanding our marketing efforts, we strengthened connections with our customers and audience through our new monthly newsletter and fresh, engaging blog articles that address current events, trends and best practices in the outdoor living market. Join us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our mailing list (below the article) to stay in the loop.
Additionally, our website has been revamped, ensuring straightforward navigation and better accessibility for both prospects and existing clients. Our latest FAQ page addresses potential and current customers' most commonly asked questions. Do you have ideas for improvement? We're all ears.
Exciting new customer projects
Over the past year, we've had the opportunity to collaborate on diverse, beautiful projects. We’re highlighting some of them here.
SolarCarport® Premium specializes in selling carports with solar panels where you can charge your electric vehicle and various other premium outdoor structures equipped with solar panels. Together with them, we've worked on building a custom 3D configurator to market their premium product effectively in a high-quality manner.
Additionally, we've closely collaborated with TS-Aluminium for their brand, Sonne am Haus. Currently, we're engaged in enhancing the custom user interface of their 3D configurator to better cater to the needs of their leads and dealers, elevating the user experience. We're also involved in custom UI rewrites for other existing clients. We'd love to share more details later, but we'll keep you in suspense for now.
Impactful 3D configurators
Feedback showed a conversion rate of 4.38 % with our 3D configurators, significantly outperforming the average website's 1.55 %, meaning the configurator enables you to triple your leads. We got some other interesting insights on statistics; discover them all in our dedicated blog article “Triple your leads with a 3D configurator”.
Technical developments in 2023
With our extended team, we’ve been working hard to optimize our configurators and add interesting new features to the existing offering. Here is a summary of the most important things we’ve been working on and what future projects to look forward to in 2024.
New functionalities in 2023
Augmented reality feature
We added the possibility of looking in augmented reality to the created configuration with a smartphone to optimize the outdoor living lead’s experience further. Your lead makes their design with the 3D configurator, opens the design link on their smartphone and starts up the AR view in the 3D configurator platform. Next, they can see their design in their garden in real time on their smartphone and walk inside the outdoor structure design as if it was already there.
New add-on: dealership module
On request, we also added a new add-on for branded or custom 3D configurators: the dealership module with the following features:
Data stored in a bespoke storage group;
Browse and export incoming leads;
Manage an unlimited amount of dealers and configurators.
Since then, three customers have already added the dealership module to support their dealers better. The dealers immediately receive the sent quotation request for leads in their region, including the details of the lead and their custom design. During the meeting with the lead, they can collaborate on the design together to adapt if necessary. This simplifies the pre-sales process for the dealers.
A 3D configurator for swimming pools
A swimming pool was one of the premium outdoor structures we were still missing in our offering. After some requests, we started building on this brand-new 3D configurator.
Further improvements in 2023
Responsive design of mobile app
We redesigned the design of our mobile application and customized it for an improved user experience. Some of the new features it included were:
Enhanced user-friendliness: navigate with ease on your mobile device.
Fresh and intuitive design: enjoy a modern, visually appealing interface.
Improved performance: experience seamless and responsive operation.
Elevated user experience: we've fine-tuned every detail for your convenience.
Why the upgrade? We want people to have the best experience that we have to offer. We listened to feedback and made the mobile version of the configurator smoother and more enjoyable.
Faster load times and performance improvements
The performance of our 3D configurators improved by 16 %, and the load times by 30 %.
What's been improved?
We've reduced the size of the pictures and textures and applied compression to our 3D models. To give you an idea of some of the improvements for the table textures, it went from 1,4MB to 44kb, and for landscape background images, it went from 1,44MB to 0,44MB, resulting in a faster load time.
We use webp for most textures instead of jpg or png, reducing the background images from a few MB to +/- 100kb.
Why the upgrade? We want people to have the best experience we can offer. Faster load times result in less friction, fewer online leads leaving the configuration, and, thus, more completed designs and conversions. Our mission is to make our configurators more enjoyable to improve customer conversions further.
Upcoming innovations in 2024
We are working on a complete rewrite of our 3D configurators so they are ready for modular functionality. So many new 3D configurators will be available soon; the best is yet to come.
Next to this, we are working on our 3D overlay module. This module will allow your website visitors to explore 3D versions of the structures on your images in a unique way! They can hover over specific pictures of your choice and will see the structure in 3D. They could also edit it to their liking and submit their needs to you. This effect will make it an engaging and memorable experience for visitors!
Why would this be something for you? You can immediately add the 3D overlay module on your website instead of a separate page to check out the configuration. Our simple self-service installation will allow you to benefit from this website enhancement almost instantly. Your website will get increased engagement, improved conversions and a modern look and feel! Interested? Discover more about it in our dedicated blog or immediately subscribe to our waitlist.
We’re also working on a self-service platform where you can easily configure your configurator to add it to your website. More about this is coming soon.
Looking forward to 2024
As we conclude this year’s chapter, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to each of you. Your support, collaboration, and trust have been the cornerstone of our journey through 2023.
We eagerly anticipate continued growth, prosperity, and shared accomplishments as we embrace the new year. May 2024 be filled with success, joy, and fruitful collaborations.
Warm wishes for a prosperous new year from all of us at Virtual Sales Lab.