3D planning is part of any bathroom retailer’s arsenal of value-added services, enabling consumers to create and accurately visualize their bathroom
designs, bringing the concepts to life. Gaming-savvy demographics such as millennials with high purchasing power are adopting these solutions enthusiastically, favoring a ‘digital first’ approach to researching potential purchases. So much so that today, not offering omnichannel solutions like 3D planning and social sharing is a real risk to business growth.
Retailers looking to implement 3D planning are faced with two choices: to build out the technology in-house or outsource to a reliable partner. Building the technology in-house offers control but is fraught with uncertainty and risk. While many bathroom retailers are used to placing their product catalogs online and participating in e-commerce, it is an error to think that these skills can be transferred to creating 3D planning solutions. 3D planning requires its own highly specialized skill set. Developing a solution in-house would bring challenges such as skill acquisition, resource management, research, and testing. In a fast-evolving industry such as bathroom retail, any compromise on time to market results in lost customers.
When outsourcing, two avenues present themselves – buying in or a cloud-based model. Buying on-premises software was popular some years ago and allows bathroom retailers to acquire the technology without long lead times or investing money in in-house development. But today this is fast being supplemented by a cloud-based model which offers benefits such as software updates, enhanced security, and speedy implementation.
The advantages of outsourcing to a cloud-based 3D planning solution
- Time to market: One of the main advantages of a cloud-based solution is the ability to ‘plug and play’, offering a fast and efficient onboarding process. Once purchased, the platform is already built and ready to be branded and populated with your catalog. Most reputable 3D planning solutions allow the integration of product information and pricing from the retailer’s catalog and content management system, ensuring the platform is dynamically updated in line with promotions and stock availability. Ongoing management of the solution is typically easy and efficient and can be embedded with CRM systems for marketing and follow-up.
- A sophisticated suite of editing tools: Another key feature of a 3D planning solution is integrated editor tools, which enhance accuracy and precision during the design process, reducing risk and adding engagement from the customer perspective. By using intelligent rules, design issues can automatically be flagged to the user right during the creation process, making sure that designs brought in-store are almost sales-ready. The solution can even generate recommendations for product sets, based on the dimensions specified and the room shape selected, offering excellent inspiration to consumers who do not have predetermined requirements.
- Reduced risk: Outsourcing eliminates several challenges associated with building a 3D planning solution in-house. From a financial risk management perspective, it is much safer to allocate budgets to technology that already exists and is proven to work versus starting afresh. A provider with a strong track record and customer testimonials can enable retailers to build a compelling business case for internal decision-makers.
- Lower TCO: Outsourced solutions are inevitably cheaper, compared to the total cost of bringing a concept to market from scratch using in-house resources. When you calculate the resource involved for developers, project managers, and other staff involved, the numbers begin to add up very quickly. Outsourced solutions are also more scalable, with an infrastructure already equipped to handle increasing volumes from multiple customers.
- Learn from others’ experiences: Another key benefit of working with a technology partner is the expertise and experience they carry, both in terms of the software itself and in servicing customers with a wide array of requirements and expectations from the solution. A platform from any reputable provider is typically improved and debugged on an ongoing basis, benefiting all customers with updates regularly rolled out to maintain the best possible service.
How 3D planning solutions deliver ROI
A common challenge for any sales team is accelerating customers as quickly as possible from the brand awareness stage, all the way through to making a purchase, minimizing the consideration and research phase in the middle where consumers can get stuck. Using a 3D planning solution achieves this by letting the software work side by side with the consumer to navigate their journey all the way through the platform, to a point at which they are ready to purchase.
With access to the full product catalog, personalized recommendations for design ideas, and editor tools to fully map out and design their ideas, customers can considerably reduce the time spent making decisions. Personalized recommendations using data analytics also offer a great means for upselling and cross-selling complementary product lines to increase revenue per consumer. For consumers that wish to visit the store for the final purchase, in-store staff can help to provide further value, using their expertise to convert designs to reality and increase customer satisfaction.
To further explore how outsourcing the 3D experience can benefit your bathroom retail brand, get in touch to organize a demonstration of the platform with a member of our team of experts.