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Centro Cushions is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) startup born from a 45-year multi-generational artisanal family business. When Kostas Konstaninidis arrived in Boston in 1985, he discovered many differences compared to his native Greece. There was one constant, however: Americans appreciated his fine handcrafted pillows and cushions, and were equally impressed by his skill at reupholstering and creating custom furniture to their exacting specifications. Kostas set about starting his own business, Lousso Designs, and quickly grew it to about 14 employees, garnering a reputation for top-quality work throughout Boston and New England.
Fast forward to the present, Yanni, the son of Kostas, has joined the family business with the ambition of taking it to the next level. Recognizing the shift in the market, Yanni plans to transform Centro from a traditional wholesale company to an e-commerce play that sells both to interior designers and to end customers using a direct-to-consumer model. His goal is to modernize the company and revolutionize the custom pillow and cushion industry through this new DTC venture.
His goal was to offer savvy consumers, designers and interior decorators an immersive custom design experience that allowed them to create one-of-a-kind pillows and cushions for projects of any scale. Because of the great variety of color combinations, fabric options, and sizes offered, allowing designers full control over design was essential to providing a compelling online purchasing experience.
No more lengthy trips to stores or browsing dozens of sites searching for the exact cushion for your project. Salsita 3D Configurator enables interior designers to custom-build every pillow and cushion desired, right on the Centro Cushions website. Read on to learn more about Centro Cushion’s 3D online product configurator and its many benefits.
Salsita's team was able to handle any challenges that arose during the development of the configurator, Their team's diverse skill set and expertise in configurators made them a valuable partner in expanding our business online. - Yanni Konstantinidis, Business Owner at Centro Cushions
Before we could begin to develop the configurator, we first needed to dissect and understand the Centro Cushion brand and their product offering. We would then use these findings to define the customer journey and design the eCommerce storefront. Through extensive discussions with Yanni and his team, we were able to pinpoint key focus areas.
Since the main goal of partnering with Salsita was to modernize the company and take their business online, our first step was to create a contemporary, product-oriented website. The website needed to be easy to navigate, straightforward and simple, and possess crisp and clear graphics that beautifully showcased the products and fabric options on offer.
Streamline Sales Process
Centro Cushions expressed concern with the amount of time the sales and customer support teams needed to spend interacting with customers, so next on our list was to simplify the design and sales process.
Enhance Online Customization
Customization and design freedom is at the heart of Centro’s business, and realizing this online required an intuitive 3D product configurator that allowed users - be they designers, decorators, or consumers - to fully customize their cushions and pillows, and do so without the involvement of the sales team.
Thanks to the online 3D product configurator, Centro customers are now able to design, configure, specify, and order any number of custom-designed pillows and cushions. The configurator also makes it easier for customers to share their designs with friends and family, either in personal messages or by posting on social media, allowing Centro Cushions to reach more potential customers than ever before.
Developing the Configurator
After capturing and analyzing Centro Cushions’ requirements and designing the flow and user interface, we were ready to kick off the development of the e-commerce storefront and configurator. We started with a thorough inventory of all the cushions and textiles that Centro Cushions offers. Our developers were tasked with creating a database enabling users to easily navigate through dozens of designs and hundreds (or even thousands) of fabric options.
One of the biggest challenges was perfecting how the 3D models look and behave on-screen. Working with textiles and fabrics is difficult because there are many different textures, the products are pliable and soft, and it is tricky to bring this across in a realistic and true-to-life manner in the web browser. For one, depending on which size and shape of cushion the customer wishes to purchase, the products - and the fabric selected - need to scale properly without distorting the pattern. Various options around edges, welts, flanges, and buttons add further complexity and really push the limits of realistic 3D modeling.
In order to optimize the user experience, we simplified the complex design process by effectively organizing the products into clear and logical categories. Our product organization strategy resulted in an easy-to-navigate online commerce experience that facilitates creativity while remaining true to Centro Cushions’ brand identity.
Another challenge we faced was managing product information, including the hundreds of fabric choices on offer, and developing a powerful pricing and rules engine that could capture all of the complexity that comes with pricing materials, manufacturing processes, and other details inherent in estimating and creating custom pillows and cushions. Without delving too deeply into the details - different fabric roll widths, minimum order quantities, etc. - rest assured this is not as simple as one might expect.
Before implementing the configurator, we tested the design process to make sure it flows smoothly and properly serves the customer. Through our comprehensive user testing, we converged on a clear, simple design process that gives customers full control over their shopping experience.
Empowering creative freedom was the main objective in implementing a 3D configurator as the linchpin of the Centro Cushions website. We were able to design a solution that allows shoppers to explore colors, textures, and shapes to custom design a unique product right from the comfort of their home or office and order it online.
Since the initial launch of the configurator, Centro Cushions has been field-testing the solution with a select group of interior decorators while collecting user data to further enhance and optimize the experience. While the site has launched and is publicly available to consumers, Centro Cushions have held off on advertising and driving consumer traffic to it beyond their circle of partners while they add more fabric options and iron out minor friction points revealed by user feedback.
When Centro Cushions came to us with their request for a high-quality 3D product configurator, we were eager to take on the project. Developing a configurator for textiles and fabrics comes with its own set of unique challenges, but Salsita succeeded in overcoming these and delivered a comprehensive online commerce solution that enhances the customer experience and drives sales.
After successfully launching the product configurator, Salsita continues to work closely with Centro Cushions conducting user testing sessions and gathering critical feedback to allow us to optimize the user experience, while also implementing further fabric and product options. In Q1 2023 we will help them to launch their DTC business more broadly. We will also implement additional features to further enhance their B2B2C and channel sales efforts as they roll out their offering regionally and, ultimately, nationwide.
Contact us to book a demo for more information on how Salsita 3D Configurator can improve your bottom line and increase customer engagement.