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.
Some of these apps will go one step further and allow for complex combinations of variables that are not available using the default product page settings in BigCommerce.
Some apps will even allow you to attach field selections to a specific product image variant within the library once you make certain selections.
Product Options Apps are not really true customization apps. With that said, they might do the job for a lot of small eCommerce merchants where a simple solution is needed.
2D Product Customizers
2D product customizers will simply allow you to layer visuals on top of a background flat 2D product image.
A simple example of this is when you may have entered your name into a field on the product page and this text is shown via an overlay function, on top of the product image.
2D customizer apps are popular for simple, flat products where 3D visualization is less critical. For example, T-shirts, posters, books, monogrammed wallets, etc.
The problem with 2D customizers is the way the layers are blend into each other. These layers don’t always blend very well into the base image. This result in the product looking like the customization element is 'pasted’ in and unrealistic. Therefore, the customer doesn’t get a good feel for the finished product. Also, 2D means they can’t look at the customization from all angles. So if your product is curved or the customization element wraps across a 2D plane, you'll probably need a 3D customizer app instead.
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 term refers to the ability of a website to give customers an ability to customize the product in 3D. They can do this in real-time and see the product change before their eyes.
3D customization apps are not all created equal. Often these 3D customizers will struggle to load efficiently on mobile devices which hampers the customer experience. Also the way different elements blend into the base 3D model can vary considerably meaning that the quality and realism can be negatively affected.
Here’s an example of our 3D product customizer app in use on the Hoops King BigCommerce website.
Downstream Fulfillment Hurdles
Showing customized products on a website (visualization) is one thing. Being able to push these complex orders past the point of the online sale can be challenging.
If you are a smaller eCommerce retailer, this is less of an issue because you can get away with a manual customization process.
If you want to scale the sale of customized products however, it becomes quickly problematic. All fulfillment processes and fulfillment centers and manufacturing are all geared toward standardized products, not customized.
This is where the power of Spiff3D really comes into it's own, because it’s built for mass customization at scale. This means, our technology can flow orders into your downstream manufacturing or fulfillment operations. This process can be very complex. We make sure everything happens seamlessly without error and even automate the whole process.