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Is interactive 3D or static image 2D best for my configurator?

This article is part of our 'What makes a configurator that converts?' insight series.

Customer experience is paramount in today’s buying journeys; 88% of customers say that the experience a brand provides is as important as its products or services (Salesforce, 2022). In automotive, we‘re increasingly seeing customer perceptions of a product’s quality and technology formed by the quality and technology experienced within the buying journey. This has led to 80% of car-buyers agreeing that the OEM website experience has a direct impact on their final purchase decision (Teads, 2022). 

This means that you must do everything possible to provide an unforgettable configurator experience that sets your brand apart from competitors. A crucial means to achieve this is by offering interactive 3D, which grants your customers the freedom to explore the details and features they care most about, just as they would if the product was sitting right in front of them. 

In comparison, a 2D configurator consisting of a turntable of static images, can only provide a linear, restricted experience, limiting the level of interactivity available. Instead, users are forced to rely on their imagination to fill in the gaps that the prescribed 2D experience is unable to show.

These differences have a measurable impact on success, with 3D configurators outperforming 2D alternatives in all critical areas. Across the ZeroLight platform’s portfolio of configurator experiences, split tests show that interactive 3D configurators increase: 

  1. average time spent by 36%
  2. average number of call-to-action clicks by 65%
  3. average number of configurations by 34%; and 
  4. average reservation value by 9% (ZeroLight, 2023).

Despite these clear performance benefits, 2D experiences can still provide value within the customer journey. High-quality 2D image-based configurators can be a powerful qualification tool, helping you distinguish between serious and casual users before offering them an interactive 3D experience. This approach can improve efficiencies and reduce the total cost of sales.

Fundamentally, you must prioritise providing an exceptional buying journey to your customers. An interactive 3D configurator should be a critical component of this journey, providing customers with the freedom and interactivity necessary to judge a product on their own terms and in the best light. While 2D configurators can still provide value, you should consider using them as a qualification tool, using anonymised intent signals to trigger an interactive 3D experience for customers.

Discover what else makes a configurator that converts with our in-depth report.

Salesforce (2022): 'State of the Connected Customer'
Teads (2022): 'EV Consumers Still Need Education as 42% Don’t Understand Full Benefits Of Buying an Electric Car'
ZeroLight (2023): 'ZeroLight internal data'