Case studies
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Jan Viohl
Head of Growth

How ANKER increases the customer experience in the online shop with a digital 3D product configurator

ANKER online shop with product configurator within a desktop screen
December 14, 2021

Challenge - large product portfolio meets technical change

ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co. KG, based in Düren, North Rhine-Westphalia, produces high-quality carpets for use in aircraft, office buildings, hotels, public buildings and in the healthcare sector. The family business has existed since 1854 and is one of the oldest carpet manufacturers in Germany. Today, ANKER, in collaboration with international experts from the fields of architecture and interior design, develops versatile carpets for customers from all over the world.

Thanks to a variety of models, their different features and, last but not least, the different areas of application (BtoB and BtoC), ANKER's digital product presentation has often reached its limits in the past.

When selecting products, customers could either look at the models in the product finder on the website or work through classic print brochures. However, in both cases, the carpets could only be presented to a limited extent in their later field of application. Selecting the right model required a great deal of imagination and relied on the — naturally logistically complex — delivery of samples.

A strategic collaboration to expand the ANKER infrastructure with smart visualization options

In search of a powerful solution, ANKER asked RenderThat to improve their digital product visualizations and bring them up to date with the latest technology.

The aim was to present the numerous carpet variants as clearly as possible and to make it easier for customers to choose from in the future.

By working with RenderThat, ANKER hoped for several benefits:

  • less effort when preparing and integrating new models (scalability of the solution)
  • higher quality of product visualizations (through computer-generated imagery)
  • individual presentation of carpets in their respective environment
  • user-friendly interface and option for interactive selection
  • Simplifying the selection process and purchase decision

Solution - 3D visualization combined with a product configurator

After preliminary discussions, the decision was made to develop a carpet configurator for the ANKER website, which should meet all ANKER requirements.

In the configurator, customers are shown the respective carpet models directly in the desired environment and the product presentation is thus improved. With just a few clicks, it should later be possible to display the desired carpet in the “Office”, “Rehabilitation”, “Bank” and “Hotel” landscapes.

In order to obtain initial, valid results as quickly as possible, the ANKER product configurator project initially started with a reduced selection of carpet models.

With its expertise, RenderThat helped define the various selection criteria for end customers and defined the characteristics of the carpets in the configurator, also in consultation with ANKER. These included color, pattern, shape, surface structure and sound insulation.

The focus was always on:

  • Maximum ease of use and the most realistic possible presentation of the carpets in the configurator.
  • Menu management and selection options were kept simple — with one click, the user can switch between the “Product” selection and the “Room” selection and view the assembled model in their desired environment.

Three static 3D scenes were created for each of the four environments, which provide the customer with a realistic picture of what the respective carpet would look like in the respective environment. As an additional highlight, the configurator developed by RenderThat offers a three-dimensional 360° view. Here, the user assumes the position of a person standing in the middle of the room. With the click of a mouse, you can switch between the different carpet models.

Implementation — a scalable infrastructure with maximum flexibility

After choosing the carpets for the configurator, renderThat generated the digital images (digital twin) on the computer.

For each model, the team had to take into account different properties such as color, pattern and structure — this resulted in almost 400 carpets. By using the four Top View, Main View, Close Up and 360° cameras, four images were created per carpet model.

Any model can be used in any scene, as RenderThat prepared the scenes in such a way that as many synergies as possible are used. RenderThat carried out thorough colorproofing for a particularly realistic product visualization. Using the most common color variants (these were provided in advance as samples by ANKER), the team defined the exact color settings for the respective scenes.

With the help of an HDR reference monitor and a light booth, daylight, studio lighting and charging light were simulated and the appropriate colors were determined after several tests.

Result - Online shopping of ANKER rugs becomes an interactive customer experience

The product configurator is designed as an independent infrastructure in such a way that its content can be rendered using an individual script with three different levels (layers). This results in:

1. Light and shadow

2. Interior without carpet

3. Carpeted floor

This infrastructure makes it possible to quickly digitize future models and automatically integrate them into the configurator. The configurator combines the three levels within milliseconds and visualizes the settings selected by the user in real time.

RenderThat also placed great value on the smoothly functioning 360° view and set the correct resolution and the camera specifically for all-round visibility.

As a solution, the new carpet configurator was received very positively from the outset, both by the ANKER team internally and by its customers. It is particularly convincing due to:

  • the ease of use, which creates an interactive user experience
  • the detailed digital images (digital twins) of the carpets and the ability to offer users significantly improved product visualization
  • quick access and content management of the various models, the 360° view and the overall smooth performance.
  • the central position on the ANKER website, which is a valuable addition to ANKER's customer service and the previous product finder
  • the improved product presentation, which, among other things, increases decision-making and satisfaction of end customers and ultimately ensures more sales

As a digital marketing tool, the configurator is closely linked to both the product finder and customer service. With one click, customers can switch from the product finder to the configurator, view the appropriate carpet and order it directly.

“The product configurator developed together with RenderThat is a scalable answer to some of the challenges facing our industry.
The biggest added value: Significantly less effort required to prepare and integrate new carpet models. The full range of products is now available to end customers with just a few intuitive clicks. In addition, all 3D visualizations are of exceptional quality, regardless of light or environment.”

KAMILLUS WOJCZYK (Head of IT and Organization, ANKER)

The benefits — how ANKER customers find the right carpet with just a few clicks

  • Product configurator instead of traditional sample delivery: the new favorite impresses with end customers, detailed digital images (digital twins) of the carpets simple overview of carpet patterns and can make decisions more easily
  • that creates ease of use, interactive user experience
  • Product visualization online
  • quick access and content management of the various models, the 360° view and the overall smooth performance.
  • valuable tool for website and tool addition for customer service
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