WooCommerce Product Customizers Explained
Product customizers are simply software applications that enable you to add customization features to a WordPress WooCommerce website.
All of these plugins vary in terms of their functionality and ability to do what you want. The most basic plugins will just add drop-down text fields to the product page. Others will go further and offer image overlay functionality, dynamic visual configuration, and even 3D!
Offering customized products is generally not possible out of the box with WooComerce. Some website owners will be tempted to make significant code changes to the theme and page templates. But this is very resource-intensive and the maintenance requirements down the track can be onerous. WordPress Product Customizer plugins make this whole process quicker, easier, and more cost-effective.
3 Types of Product Customizers
There are broadly three categories of product customizer apps available on WordPress.
1 – Product Options Apps
These plugins allow customers to choose from multiple options which all relate to a base product. At a basic level, this could allow the choice of a preferred size or color via drop-down fields.
Sometimes, the plugin will go one step further and change the default product image when a selection is made from these options areas. The new images are pulled from an existing library of images (see this example).
Technically, these are not true customization plugins, and more like an extended product variant feature, but they will do the job for a lot of small eCommerce merchants who use WooCommerce.
2D Product Customizers
The next step up is a 2D product customizer where you can layer visuals on top of a background product image.
A common example is text overlays. A customer enters their name into a custom text field and this text will be shown on top of a base product image (see image).
These 2D customizers are popular for simple, flat products where a 3D visualization is less critical. T-shirts, posters, books, monogramming of wallets, etc.
The problem with this option, however, is that the layer which is being superimposed on top, doesn’t always blend into the background image very well. It can look ‘pasted’ and unrealistic because it is.
3D Product Customizers
3D product customizers are the best quality option. The better 3D customizer plugins will provide what’s called ‘visual configuration’ or ‘product configuration’ ability. This is a fancy way of saying that the user can customize products, in real-time and see the product change before your eyes, in 3D.
3D customization plugins are not all created equal. The way the different layers of customization blend into the base 3D model varies considerably, as do the self-management and configuration side of the backend.
Featured here is an example of our 3D product customizer plugin in use on Bega’s Vegemite WordPress website.
Don’t Forget Downstream
Showing customization on the front-end of the WordPress 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, small increases in your order volume can make things messy very quickly. The manufacturing and/or fulfillment process gets complex, 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. This way, you can automate and seamlessly scale customization without error or compromising your profit margins.
Very few customizer apps will have this critical feature which is a necessity for larger volume, enterprise retailers.