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What's the expected ROI for an online 3D configurator?

Updated: Jun 26

5 piles of 100 dollar billets with next to it a green clock.

Our online 3D product configurators decimate sales effort, and accelerate your sales.

In this article we explain how an online 3D product configurator saves you money, and what is important when you want to calculate your expected ROI (return-on-investment).

We have an easy way to calculate your ROI based on some simple metrics and industry statistics; check out our pricing page, or contact us if you are interested.

Print screen of the Lead ROI calculator that Virtual Sales Lab applies.

How does a 3D configurator impact your lead generation and sales?

When purchasing highly customizable products, prospects usually have a good idea about what they want, but for more complicated, larger purchases like garden sheds, pool houses, veranda's, … it requires a big effort from sales to turn the initial question into a proper quote and sale.

Let's take a look at a typical lead generation and sales process, from start to sale:

1/ Without a configurator

How a sales pipeline typically work: potential leads  to web visitors to cold lead to hot lead to customer.

A typical process without a configurator looks like this:

  1. You launch marketing campaigns, attend events, network, …;

  2. A prospect contacts you via email, phone, a visit on-site;

  3. You try to qualify the lead via phone calls, emails, a visit in the showroom;

  4. You pay a first visit at his location, and discuss his requirements;

  5. You arrange a second visit to discuss your proposal and a high-level quote; usually the prospect asks for some adjustments, so you iterate;

  6. You arrange a third visit to discuss your quote and get his signature;

  7. Sale!

This is a very labor intensive process, and the more steps you have, the riskier it gets.

At every step, you or the prospect might bail out, or you might need to go back and iterate in order to adjust some assumptions. You need to invest your time in every single step.

2/ With a configurator

Shows where a 3D configurator comes in the sales pipeline we looked at before.

Let's compare this to what it looks like when you acquire leads via a configurator:

  1. You launch marketing campaigns, attend events, network, …; You need to generate less leads, as typically conversion rates are way higher - we have the stats to prove it

  2. A prospect finds your configurator and starts experimenting. During this phase he is engaging with your brand and bonding. If he is satisfied with his configuration, and interested in a follow-up, he submits his configuration. You receive an email with his configured product, and potentially a photo of the environment with the product on it. This makes him easy to qualify, and by submitting for follow-up he expresses a clear intent to buy; This step replaces steps 2 to 5 in the previous process, while requiring almost zero effort from your side

  3. You visit the prospect and refine the design together with him using your configurator. As you can include price calculations in your sales configurator, you can directly see the impact of his choices on the price. You ask for an informal agreement or get a signature on the spot. Somewhat comparable to step 5, 6 & 7 combined

  4. Sale! You can ignore this step as it's only an official confirmation the previous step

As you can see, having our configurators results in 3 steps instead of 7, which decimates the sales effort; this makes your sales process way more efficient.

Without a configurator, you have to invest a lot of time in qualification and requirements gathering. With a configurator the you receive the needed info to qualify the prospect and his requirements without any effort. Because prospects are better qualified and more engaged, you need to attract less visitors to your website to get the same amount of sales

3 Tips to calculate the expected ROI of your configurator

If you talk to us, we can walk you through a basic ROI case in about half an hour using our tool, but here are the major tips your need to take into account:

1/ How easy is it to calculate the ROI of your product configurator?

Most of our competitors charge per "impression": you pay every time someone starts a session on the configurator, even if he does not submit his result to the server. Calculating ROI for these configurators might be hard and challenging.

We charge per submitted lead, so measuring ROI is easy. You only pay for the visitors that submit their configuration. If a thousand people visit your website, but nobody submits his data (even though this is very unlikely), it doesn't cost you anything. This is our way of saying that we truly believe in our online 3D configurators.

While there is an initial setup cost, you can easily calculate an ROI by estimating the cost you pay per lead vs how much time you save by skipping all those steps, and the amount of website visitors you need to generate.

2/ Mobile/desktop applications or fully responsive, online 3D configurators?

Do you need to build a desktop application? A mobile application? A website? What about multiple platforms? How do you upgrade your applications?

Prospects have high demands, or to quote one of our favorite bands:

I want it all! I want it all! I want it all! ... And I want it now! Queen: "I want it all"

The need to install an application to configure your product chases away most prospects, especially consumers. And you might need to maintain multiple versions, facilitate upgrades and releases, handle edge cases on some devices, … The list goes on forever and expected ROI is hard to calculate.

This is why we opted for a single, online platform available on all devices: you can use the configurator instantly from the website on any device, without the need to install anything.

In techie jargon they call this a fully responsive online configurator.

Showcases how the configurator looks like on several devices: mobile phone, tablet, laptop and large desktop screen.

As we don't know on which device prospects are visiting your site, we made sure all our configurators are available on all web devices: PC, tablet, mobile, even on their fridge.

All our configurators are by design both online and fully responsive, and an online user always uses the latest version that we maintain on our servers, you never have issues with maintenance, upgrading users, … We have you covered, so this doesn't introduce an additional (hidden) cost!

3/ How much time will it take to build your specific configurator?

Most of our competitors provide online 3D configurators that are simple:

  • Choose one out of three variations from a 3D object list;

  • Change some fabric/color;

  • Select some options that you see appearing;

While we can easily build simple configurators, our platform's building blocks are designed from the start for highly parametric products, like porches, veranda's, garden sheds, …

Due to this design choice we can build complex configurators in a couple of weeks, while competitors might take months.

In closing

The world is changing, and software is eating the world. So is marketing, lead acquisition and sales. If you are manufacturing or selling a highly customizable product, you are leaving money on the table if you do not have a product configurator.

Interested? Contact us, and we'll see what we can do!

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