The Ultimate Guide To Product Configurators For Furniture Brands

Today’s consumers expect two things when buying furniture and home decor products: a wide range of choice, and the ability to customize and visualize items to suit their personal taste. For furniture brands, it can be tough to fulfill these expectations, giving modern consumers both the personalized experience they crave, and a sense of control. Harder still is being able to easily manage all of this throughout an entire network of dealers or resellers.

When you offer more complex furniture items with multiple options, it becomes even harder. But get it right, and you’ll not only increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand, you’ll also improve your sales processes at the same time. You just need the right digital tool. And that tool is a visual product configurator. 

What is a visual product configurator?

A visual product configurator is a piece of software that allows customers to customize, personalize, and visualize furniture products according to their needs and preferences within all the possible options and product offers.

As a digital sales tool, a configurator provides an interactive interface where users can select various options such as size, shape, color, materials, finishes, and additional features. This makes quoting and presenting all the options easier and more convincing. It helps customers visualize the product they want to buy, configured to their liking, giving them the confidence to make a purchasing decision. 

visual cpq from iONE360 visual product configurator

12 key benefits of a visual product configurator

It’s amazing how the addition of a single digital tool – a visual product configurator – offers so many advantages for furniture brands and their sales network, a few of which you might have never thought of before. Here are 12 key benefits: 

1. Easily configure complex products with multiple options. Give customers a wide range of choices that they can configure with ease, so they can put together the right product for their needs.

2. Increase sales through upselling opportunities and higher conversion rates because customers are more likely to purchase products tailored to their specific needs that they can actually see. It will increase conversion rates up to 80%.
3. Closer integration with retailers and resellers to provide consistent product offerings and pricing across multiple channels, and drive furniture sales.
4. More efficient management of customer data, orders, and production processes due to integrations with CRM and ERP systems.
5. Enhance customer experience by allowing people to personalize products according to their preferences in a visually immersive way, leading to increased customer satisfaction.
6. Build stronger connections with end-customers and resellers, helping you to become a preferred brand because of the tools you offer.
7. Reduce returns with over 30% due to realistic visual representations and clearer specifications of customized products. The customer receives items that align with their expectations.
8. Order error prevention  thanks to the business rules set up inside the configurator back end, order mistakes drop to <1%.
9. Streamlined production thanks to accurate and detailed order specifications sent from the configurator directly to manufacturing teams, reducing production time, and minimizing errors.
10. Actionable data insights on customer preferences and purchasing behavior, enabling targeted marketing efforts, and product development improvements.

11. Built-in scalability and add-ons from a cloud-based configurator can accommodate growing product lines and customer demands without major increases in operational costs. You can also easily add extra visualization techniques like Augmented Reality, which strengthens your 3D Commerce strategy.

12. Gain competitive advantage by offering a more personalized, immersive and clear shopping experience, setting yourself apart from competitors without a configurator.

How does a product configurator work?

Here’s how a product configurator works from the customer and salesperson’s perspective: 

Step 1 - Browsing

Before selecting a product, users browse through the website of a brand or dealer. The implementation and layout is different everywhere, but users typically launch a configurator from either a product page or from a menu or homepage. 

Step 2 - Configuring

Now that the configurator is launched, users get to see the default product in either interactive 3D or 2D renders. The interactive 3D view enables users to view the product from every angle, and really experience the product in-depth. The next step is to configure the various aspects of the piece of furniture. This includes things like the type of wood, fabric, or other materials, as well as choosing the color or finish, adjusting dimensions, and adding optional features like additional drawers or shelves. 

Step 3 - Real-time Visualization

As users make changes, the configurator provides a real-time visual representation of the product. This may include 2D renders, interactive 3D, or both, allowing customers to see exactly how their choices impact the final look of the furniture piece.

At the same time, the configurator can calculate the price of the product based on the selected options. This allows customers to see the cost implications of their choices in real time as part of a visual CPQ system. 

Step 4 - Ordering

Once configuration is complete, and the customer is satisfied with the design and price, the order can be placed (Add to cart) or a quote can be emailed and downloaded. The system can then generate a summary of the chosen options for confirmation before finalizing the purchase. 

Step 5 - Manufacturing

The finalized order details are passed to the manufacturing team, providing them with workable data that includes all the information on how to produce the configured furniture piece according to the customer’s specifications. This ensures the customer receives a furniture item they will enjoy for many years to come. 

How to build a product configurator for furniture

Here at iONE360, we often get asked how we build a product configurator for furniture. Every implementation is unique, but here’s what a typical build might look like. 


Optimize 3D models

It all starts with 3D models and materials. Most furniture manufacturers already have 3D models for design and production purposes. These models are often highly detailed and therefore unsuited to fast-loading web pages. So our first job is usually to optimize these assets without losing image quality and prepping them for the configurable options, making parts ‘communicate’ with each other. Of course, if a furniture brand doesn’t yet have 3D models yet, we can also create these ourselves. 

Identify and apply configurator logic

Many manufacturers will have a catalog or brochure presenting all their products and product variations. To bring these product types and variants into a configurator, it’s essential to have a complete overview of all the configurable options, and business rules. This deep understanding of the products helps create the configurator blueprint.

It’s important to understand configurator logic and the importance of clear business rules. Take the addition of inner legs on a box-spring, for example. They don’t have to be there visually, since they will be practically invisible, but they must be a part of the business rules as essential production data.

A different example is a specific style of armrest that only goes with a certain type of end-piece. In this case, the information is essential for both the visual aspect as well as production, preventing impossible combinations from being configured, and providing an accurate visualization to the customer. 

Implement integrations

Once a configurator is populated with your 3D models, assets, and related product data, it’s ready for integration with your website and business systems. There are different levels of integration available. In B2C context, a popular option is to include ‘Add to cart’ functionality, so the configured product can be ordered and manufactured directly from the configurator. In a B2B context, the quote creation or ‘contact me about this product’ is a popular choice. A few product configurators can also be integrated with ERP systems. 

Go live and embrace your configurator

Now that your furniture configurator is live, it’s time to embrace its potential. Recognize it as a vital part of your sales and marketing strategy. Actively promoting the configurator ensures its effectiveness in engaging customers and driving sales. Embrace this moment and watch as your configurator enhances the customer experience and fuels business growth. 

How to choose the right product configurator

Choosing the right product configurator platform depends on your business needs and the type of furniture you produce. Here’s a table summarizing the key features to consider: 

Configuration complexity
Ensure the platform offers a wide range of configuration capabilities suitable for furniture, such as materials, finishes, sizes, and items like sectional sofas, and modular cabinets.

User interface
Look for an intuitive interface with clear navigation and realistic visualizations to guide furniture customers and salespeople through the customization process.

High-quality 2D renders or interactive 3D are crucial for providing customers with realistic representations of customized furniture pieces.

Choose a platform that can handle increasing configuration options, changing and growing collections, higher volumes of orders, and integration with other systems as your business grows.

Seamless integration with existing systems such as e-commerce platforms, CRM software, and ERP systems is essential for efficient data management and order processing. Just having a visual tool won’t cut it. 

Device compatibility
Ensure compatibility with various devices and screen sizes to allow customers to customize furniture pieces on smartphones and tablets for enhanced accessibility.

Rule-based configuration
A rule-based engine helps define constraints between customization options, preventing incompatible combinations, and reducing errors in order processing.

Analytics and reporting
Robust analytics provide valuable insights into customer preferences, behavior, and conversion rates, informing marketing strategies, and product development decisions.

Support and training
Comprehensive support services and training resources tailored to the furniture industry help maximize platform capabilities and address specific challenges.

Security and compliance
Uphold industry standards for data security and compliance with features such as encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications to protect customer data.

The ultimate product configurator platform for furniture

With more than 40 years experience in the furniture industry, the company behind iONE360 – Colijn IT – is familiar with the challenges of selling furniture. iONE360 – named by Gartner as a representative vendor of composable product configuration – provides industry-leading product configuration solutions to some of the world’s top furniture brands.

With iONE360, you don’t just get product configuration covered at the frontend of your website, you also benefit from usable backend data from your entire sales network. On top of that, a product configurator from iONE360 takes business processes as the starting point, speaking the same language as your ERP system.

Plus, with iONE360, it’s easy to embed your product configurator in the websites and physical stores of dealers and retailers. In fact, iONE360’s product configurator platform is perfectly designed to meet the needs of highly customizable furniture and home decor items. 


Try the 3D Product Configurator yourself