Business transformation
5 reasons investing in product visuals boosts B2B furniture profits
Business transformation

5 reasons investing in product visuals boosts B2B furniture profits

Written by

Rod Reynolds


May 8, 2024

Table of contents

TOC Example

When it comes to product marketing, no business questions the value of photographs and videos. Designed to help customers develop a clearer understanding of what they’re buying, they are indispensable – and, as a result, ubiquitous. That’s why, as technology expands the limits of visual communication, innovative companies are taking advantage of new formats such as 3D and augmented reality (AR) to regain a competitive advantage and help customers make even better-informed purchase decisions.

Great product visuals have long been key to the profit margin puzzle – boosting sales, accelerating inventory velocity, and engaging stakeholders up and down the value chain. As visuals evolve, therefore, offering greater utility for customers and a way for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors, investing in the most engaging and effective formats should remain a priority for any B2B furniture manufacturer.

1. Maximizing buyer understanding remains key

Visuals are a foundational component of selling any product, regardless of target segment. In today’s commerce landscape, no furniture business would bring an item to market without images, while 96% of B2B firms already incorporate video in their marketing efforts. This reflects the fact that, until recently, these media formats represented the best ways to let buyers – whether consumer or B2B – form an understanding of potential purchases.  

Now, however, the advent of lifelike digital 3D models and augmented reality (AR) enable products to be showcased in greater levels of detail and realism than ever before. In the consumer sphere, this has had a marked shift on shopper expectations already, with 77% saying they want to use 3D and AR to interact with products before buying. As proliferation of the technology becomes ever more widespread, that mindset will surely bleed across into the B2B sector, spurred by buyers seeking the transparency and clarity they have experienced in their daily lives as consumers, and firms looking to get ahead by offering the best possible customer experience.  

Just as past improvements in technology have led to firms of all stripes shifting to higher-definition visuals and incorporating video elements over time, 3D and AR is the natural next step in that process – a rising tide of quality that can lift all boats.  

2. The end customer is everyone’s customer

Regardless of whether firms are targeting stores, distributors, or professionals, the end customer is always a critical part of the supply chain. Product visuals inevitably reach end customers, whether directly or indirectly, forming an integral part of the purchasing process. In fact, 93% cite visual appearance as the key factor when it comes to purchasing decisions, making clear the incentive to businesses to showcase items in their best possible light, and the influence visuals can have on profit margins.

Product visualizations help buyers make more confident purchase decisions.

With 3D and AR, B2B furniture manufacturers have an opportunity to gain a pronounced competitive advantage. By presenting the truest possible representation of their range, enabling live product personalization, and try-before-you-buy capabilities through visualizations, companies can establish a significant point of differentiation between themselves and their competitors, while growing market share through offering a superior customer experience.  

3. Impact right across the supply chain

Beyond end customers, product visuals have an impact up and down the B2B supply chain, reaching architects, designers, and other specifiers. Research suggests 88% of specifiers begin product research on online, with, crucially, 83% going directly to manufacturers’ websites. As such, the visual product experience remains key, even when it comes to influencing a professional audience – and particularly when it comes to the all-important first impressions that are formed.

As well as enhancing the buyer experience in ways already touched upon, 3D and AR offer specific additional benefits when it comes to professional customers. By integrating product configurators in their web platforms, B2B manufacturers can enable architects and designers to customize pieces so that they best fit their projects or offer the bespoke look their clients are looking for. Furthermore, by providing downloadable 3D models that can be integrated directly into their plans, immersive technology lets manufacturers offer professionals a streamlined and convenient buyer experience.

4. Unlocking the full potential of a product range

Traditional methods of showcasing products often involve costly photoshoots and physical samples. For B2B manufacturers with extensive ranges offering a variety of product configuration options, it can be impractical or even impossible to display every piece and all its variants, whether online or in physical catalogs.

However, immersive technology solves these problems. By adding 3D configurators to their product pages, and making them accessible via QR codes in printed materials, B2B manufacturers can showcase every product and variant with ease. As configurable attributes such as materials and textures are added digitally, this offers a significantly more cost-effective alternative to samples and professional photography, with the knock-on effect of being able to showcase every piece, and every variant, in its very best light.

Try a 3D product configurator from Enhance XR | Furniture: ROCO

Moreover, the dynamic nature of 3D visualizations allows for easy updates and additions to product variants, making it simple to keep commerce platforms up to date. As well as featuring the latest items, this enables B2B manufacturers to ensure only products and variants currently in stock are displayed – reducing the risk of disappointing time-poor professional customers – and to respond swiftly to market demands and trends.

5. From playing catchup to getting ahead of the curve

According to commerce platform Shopify, the distinction between B2B and direct to consumer markets is becoming increasingly blurred, with many furniture companies seeing the benefits of bridging these channels. As a result, B2B furniture manufacturers face heightened competition, not only from traditional counterparts but also from companies that have previously been consumer-facing.

Led by major brands such as IKEA, Home Depot, and DFS, home-furnishings retail has increasingly incorporated immersive product experiences in recent years, due to the impressive results the technology has delivered in terms of boosting conversion rates, reducing returns, and increasing profit margins. In order to remain competitive in this evolving landscape, B2B manufacturers need to get ahead of the curve by adopting the techniques employed by innovative firms, both from a profitability standpoint and so as not to risk offering an inferior customer experience. By moving swiftly to integrate the best of these consumer-led strategies, B2B firms can not only steal a march on their competitors, but also give themselves the potential to expand their customer base. That all starts with visuals.

To discuss bringing enhanced product visuals to your B2B business, talk to an expert today.

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