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How do 3D product configurators reduce e-commerce returns?

Table of Contents

Overview of e-commerce product returns

Online purchase returns per category in France in 2022
% of people who claim to retunr their online purchases per category in France in 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in online sales. Indeed, in 2022, retail e-commerce sales were estimated to have reached around 5.3 trillion USD$ [1].
One of the first consequences of the increase in online sales is the increase in product returns and refund requests. Indeed, the average return rate on e-commerce sites is around 35% [2]. According to a study conducted by Shopify, 41% of consumers purchase items online to return them. 
The fashion industry is one of the main areas where return rates are high. There are several explanations for why customers may return products purchased online, such as the non-conformity of:
  • the size of the product, 
  • the item’s appearance on the website vs in real life.
With SmartPixels’ photorealistic 3D rendering and 3D product configurator technology, your brand can witness a dramatic decrease in e-commerce product returns
Creating photorealistic 3D renderings can help customers see a product’s details. This allows them to make an informed decision before purchasing. Pushing the thought further, implementing an interactive 3D configurator for your e-commerce site can bring several advantages: 
  • increased product customization sales,  
  • raised average prices and, 
  • reduced number of product returns

The potential of 3D rendering to reduce returns

Photo-realistic 3D rendering by SmartPixels for a Chloé bag
Photo-realistic 3D rendering by SmartPixels for a Chloé bag
76% of shoppers say they would return online purchases less often if e-commerce sites provided higher image quality and more accurate representation of product details
The online shopping experience is strictly a visual experience. Indeed, image quality is one of the main criteria for completing a transaction. Therefore, the implementation of photorealistic 3D visuals has become an essential part of the online shopping experience. 
Buying is visual. It’s no longer enough to use static images or to try to attract customers in-store. Emotions need to be shared with the consumer when they are about to buy a luxury good. With 3D modeling software, brands can create a more engaging product experience on their e-commerce site, improving customer satisfaction. 
3D modeling is an ideal solution because it generates high-quality product images without having to worry about the logistics of a photo shoot. Furthermore, it provides an immersive experience on your e-commerce site. 
Using 3D rendering technology allows you to significantly increase customer satisfaction and drastically reduce your product returns

How to reduce returns with a 3D product configurator

An online 3D product configurator is a technology that allows you to visualize and configure products as 3D models in real time. Thus, a product can be customized in an infinity of variations in a few clicks. 
An interactive product configurator allows your users to visualize products in 360°, zoom in on every detail, to dwell on every desired angle of view
In addition, using a 3D configurator on your e-commerce site provides users with the possibility to customize in real-time your ideal product (size, materials, color). Furthermore, the implementation of 3D rendering software favors on-demand production for brands. 
Customers will be able to have a realistic preview of the desired product. In this way, the discrepancy between the appearance of the product online and in physical form will be reduced to zero
Thanks to 3D software made by SmartPixels, you only produce the products requested by your customers. On average, customers have seen a 40% reduction in returns with SmartPixels’ 3D technology. 

3 benefits of a 3D product configurator

Custom photorealistic renderings made for Camille Fournet
Custom photorealistic renderings made for Camille Fournet
Originally, a product configuration tool is designed to provide online shoppers with a fun and engaging customization experience. However, it is also a powerful tool to significantly reduce online returns:
  • Photorealistic visuals give an accurate representation of your personalization options: photorealistic 3D models give your customers the ability to view a product from all angles. This gives them a more concrete idea of what they can expect.
  • Augmented reality can help solve dimensional issues: by using augmented reality on a mobile device or tablet, your customers can get a clear idea of how the product will look in their environment before making a purchase. 
  • Real-time changes on a screen reduce errors: during the customization process, product visuals and prices are updated as your customers make changes. The 3D preview of the final product allows your customers to see the exact item they will receive. 
SmartPixels can help you create a ‘digital twin’ of your products or implement an online 3D configurator on your e-commerce site. We can help you reduce your product returns, increase your sales and minimize the number of unsold products. 
[1] https://www.statista.com/topics/871/online-shopping/#topicOverview 
[2] https://www.readycloud.com/info/how-ecommerce-returns-in-2023-will-impact-your-business