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Designing a three-dimensional ordering process for a seamless customer experience


Cupbio was founded in 2020 with the bold aim of revolutionising the disposable cup market with its 100% plastic-free product. Cupbio’s sustainable cups are fully recyclable and biodegradable, making them the ideal alternative for event organisers and other businesses looking to improve their environmental credentials.


Cupbio approached Columbia Road after identifying that they could streamline the ordering process for their eco-friendly disposable cups with a suitable ecommerce solution – and that this was a necessary step for the company to consolidate its impressive growth to date. At that point, the only way for customers to place an order was to fill in an online contact form, after which Cupbio would discuss their design needs with them and develop a template for the cup printer.

Key objectives

This process had numerous inefficiencies; the back-and-forth communication could often be lengthy, and there was no option for customers to place a direct order. Also, the process of converting the customers’ chosen imagery into a file that could be used by the printers took up time that Cupbio’s staff could have been using more effectively.

Cupbio also needed support to identify their customers’ most important needs and create an ecommerce solution that would satisfy them. Although the company had an initial vision in mind based on their own ideas for improving the purchasing process and a competitor benchmarking study, they wanted to be absolutely clear on the webshop’s key features before crystallising that concept into a concrete solution.

Our approach

The project was carried out in two parts. To begin with, a 3D cup configurator was created for internal use; Cupbio needed a tool that would convert design images into printer-ready 3D templates that display perfectly on the cups.

The next stage was to create the ecommerce platform based on the customer needs analysis. In addition to producing the ecommerce functionality layered over Cupbio’s existing website, this included a customer-facing version of the configurator. Customers can use the online configurator to view an accurate 3D preview of their cups before placing an order, along with instructions on how to get the best results.

One of the chief challenges was creating the customer flow for the configurator, which was previously created for internal use. We were clear on how we wanted the ordering process to look and feel, but there were both technical and budgetary constraints to overcome when bringing that design into reality. A major challenge we overcame was to create our own 3D models for the configurator – there are no ready templates for Cupbio’s cups, which have their own unique shapes and dimensions.

Columbia Road supported Cupbio by proposing ideas for integrating the configurator into the webshop and then producing the designs. In the configurator, customers can upload an image, crop and drag it to the desired position before placing their order. As well as allowing them to compare different designs before committing, the configurator has the functionality to create and submit a template to the printer without any further image processing, creating a seamless customer experience.



Our work included:

  • Analysing customer needs to define them concretely
  • Developing the 3D cup configurator for Cupbio’s internal use
  • Examining Cupbio’s website and developing webshop features based on typical use cases
  • Defining the customer flow for the webshop
  • Creating a customer-facing version of the configurator
  • Designing the UX, technical and visual aspects to create a webshop prototype
  • Testing the prototype and adjusting the design based on feedback from genuine potential users

Columbia Road was by our side every step of the way, helping us to define what an enjoyable ordering experience means for our customers and improving our website’s conversion by implementing a solution that’s functional, slick and intuitive for them to use.

Janne Kauria, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Cupbio


Minimising friction for customers has resulted in increased orders due to a reduction in drop-off rates, with the smoother experience also leading to orders being completed more quickly. In addition, the solution has saved Cupbio a significant amount of time and effort in fulfilling orders, as they no longer need to be actively involved in the process.

Among the improvements to the customer experience, users can view previous purchases and quickly place a repeat order if desired. The Cupbio webshop was initially created for B2B use, but it has been built to enable expansion to facilitate B2C sales in the future. The webshop is also designed to allow Cupbio to easily make changes when the content needs updating.

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