What is a Product Customizer?
Product customizers are software applications that allow store owners to add customization features to a BigCommerce website.
They can vary a lot in terms of their functionality and ability. Simple versions of these apps will just allow you to add drop-down or radio button fields. Others will go further and allow for image layers, dynamic visual configuration, and even 3D models!
Allowing users to customize products is not possible by default with a standard BigCommerce set-up. What a lot of merchants do is they will make custom code changes to the website’s structure. But, this is very resource-intensive both, up-front and with future maintenance.
BigCommerce Product Customizer apps make this whole process much quicker, easier, and more cost-effective.
Types of Product Customizers
There is broadly three categories of product customizer apps available on BigCommerce
Product Options Apps
Product Options apps, once installed and configured, will allow customers to choose from multiple options which relate to a base product. At their most basic level, this could be something as simple as choosing a preferred size or color via a drop-down field.
But, most of these apps will go one step further and allow for complex combinations of variables that are not available using the default product page.
Some will even allow you to modify the default image with one which reflects that combination of selections (see the image here).
These are not really true customization apps, but they might do the job for a lot of small eCommerce merchants.
2D Product Customizers
Next, we have 2D product customizers which allow you to layer visuals on top of a background product image. For example, if the customer enters their name into a text field, this text will be shown via an overlay function, on top of the product in the background. See the image here for an example.
2D customizer apps are popular for use with simple, flat products where 3D visualization is less critical. For example, T-shirts, posters, books, monogrammed wallets, etc.
The problem with the 2D customizer is the way the layers are superimposed on top of each other. The layers don’t always blend into the base product image very well. It can look ‘pasted’ or unrealistic because it is. Also, the customer doesn’t get a good feel for the finished product because they can’t look at it from all angles.
3D Product Customizers
3D product customizers are the best quality option. The best apps in this class will give what’s called ‘visual configuration’ or ‘product configuration’ ability. This is a fancy way of saying that customers will be able to customize a 3D model of the product, in real-time and see it change before their eyes.
But, 3D customization apps are not all created equal. Much like with 2D customizers, the way different layers blend into the base 3D model varies considerably in terms of quality and realism.
Here’s an example of our 3D product customizer app in use on the Hoops King BigCommerce website.
Don’t Forget Downstream
Being able to show customization to the customer on the front-end of the website is much easier than integrating these order requests downstream.
For small retailers who receive infrequent purchases, a manual process (while time-intensive) can be enough.
But, it only takes a small volume increase per day before things can get messy very quickly. Manufacturing and/or the fulfillment process gets problematic, fast.
This is where the power of our solution comes in handy because it’s built for mass customization i.e it can scale. We can integrate the customized orders into your manufacturing or fulfillment operations downstream so everything happens seamlessly without error.
Very few customizer apps will have these critical features which are a necessity for our larger volume, enterprise retailers.