In June's issue, Furniture News investigated the evolving role of product configurators in the furniture shopping journey, both online and in-store. With retail footprint at a premium, configurators provide an opportunity to showcase an infinitely larger range of SKUs than could ever be presented physically on the shop floor – but what are the latest developments in this arena?

To answer this question, we turned to a range of experts making personalised purchases a reality: Neil Buckley-Jensen, founder, Chilli Pepper Designs; Jostein Pedersen, VP of product, Cylindo; David Colijn, CMO, iONE360; Rob Walker, MD, Orbital Vision; and Adam Briscoe, MD, Envision CGI.

Neil Buckley-Jensen: Chilli Pepper Designs are always adapting to technological advances and continuously furthering our knowledge and experience within these fields. We have partnered and developed AR software which allows customers to virtually place furniture into their homes, with accurately scaled products based on the room dimensions. Our software also enables customers to rotate furniture in immersive 360° animations, letting them see the furniture from every angle and envision what it would look like in any location, from the comfort of their own smartphone.

Jostein Pedersen: We are continuously developing and improving our product configurator offerings in order to provide the best possible solutions for our customers. I’m excited to share that besides our tighter integration into the Chaos Product Suite (V-Ray, Corona, Enscape, etc) we’ve been working on some very exciting solutions for the product visualisation and configurations field, namely: Cylindo Studio, which enables customers to create lifestyle images at scale – by leveraging advanced 3D visualisation technology, we make it easy for businesses to generate realistic and visually appealing product images that help customers better understand the look and feel of their potential purchases;

We’ve recently released a dimension shot solution that simplifies the process of generating dimension imagery for all your products – this allows for easy creation of detailed and accurate product dimensions, helping customers make informed decisions regarding product fit and compatibility; we’ve also ensured that all materials used on products can be visualised as separate material swatches, allowing our customers to more easily present material options to end consumers.

Next, I’m excited to announce the upcoming launch of Cylindo Curator, a revolutionary content management solution that will streamline the way you manage content on your ecommerce store – this platform will make it easier to organise, optimise and update product content, ensuring a consistent and engaging shopping experience for the end-consumer; and we also plan to introduce new AI-powered content creation tools that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of ecommerce businesses – these tools will leverage machine learning and AI to generate content at scale, optimise product imagery, and enhance the overall shopping experience, and we can’t wait to tell you more about it! 

David Colijn: At iONE360, we view our visual product configurator as a vital component of the sales, marketing and logistics processes – not just within individual companies, but throughout the supply chain. We believe that failing to consider these processes can result in a product configurator that looks impressive but is disconnected from your operation, leaving you with a costly gadget with limited usefulness. Therefore, we focus on efficiency and integration of 3D visual configuration technologies.

One example of this is our ability to automatically generate CGI of products and all options using our configurator. We can do this completely automatically, at just cents per image, making it feasible for the furniture industry to have product images of each and every variant available.

We have also developed versatile solutions that enable us to publish configurable products to multiple channels, including AR and room planners, with no extra effort required. Additionally, we facilitate integrations within the supply chain by supporting manufacturers in providing this technology to their dealers, enabling them to use it to boost sales both online and in physical stores. This means that retailers no longer have to build their own libraries, and investments can be shared.

Over the next few years, we expect two main developments: firstly, the creation of assets will speed up, driving down investments and convincing more companies to adopt this technology; secondly, the quality of visuals will increase significantly, as well as the ways to access the 3D layer on top of our reality (the metaverse, for example), leading to widespread adoption.

Rob Walker: Envision has been live since last year, and we are constantly developing new and exciting features to deliver an upgraded user experience, including a 3D modular configurator, and the ability to pull still images (named to SKUs and with tags for Google Shopping) from the platform, with both features launching later this year. 

Users can already completely customise a product, put it in their own home with our app-less AR feature, view dimensions and view a running total – so it’s only getting better! Clients who are signed up to Envision will also reap the benefits of discounted rates across our other services, making lifestyle imagery and animation even more accessible. 

Adam Briscoe: We are currently developing our own configurator system that works for both single pieces of furniture and entire roomsets. With the advances in 3D technology, we are able to create immersive environments in which the customer is able to move around the space and try different colour options within it. 

It allows a retailer to show multiple products in a roomset and create a virtual showroom that customers can experience from the comfort of their own home. You will be able to sell a product in the same way you do in a showroom, but without having to have a traditional bricks-and-mortar approach.

Read the complete feature here.

Image courtesy Orbital Vision