eCommerce is growing at a phenomenal rate. On average, 71 percent of consumers express at least some frustration when shopping is impersonal. Because of that, it comes as no surprises that from 2015 to 2018, interest in customized products grew by 2.4 times. The future of shopping is customization—it is no longer just a luxury. The solution is through the product configurator.
But let’s take a step back and look at customization in general.
There are four approaches to customization and they range from low to high customization. In order from low to high, they are adaptive, transparent, cosmetic, and collaborative. Adaptive means that the product is standardized and designed to accommodate many uses. There is no customer input. Transparent customization is when the manufacturer adducts the product based on customer data. In this, only the function of the product is customized. Cosmetic has customer choices restricted to the final stages of manufacturing. As the name cosmetic implies, only the appearance is changed. And finally, there is collaborative. Collaborative customization creates a truly unique product based on customer preferences. Both function and appearance are customized by the customer.
And this is why a business needs a product configurator—especially since not all customization is good customization. Configured products, products produced by product configurators, take the benefits of standard and bespoke products and combine them into a cost-effective and mass-produced customizable product. It has lower costs, high scalability, and low effort. In addition, products are readily available, and are available to both small and large businesses alike.
How does a product configurator work?
Product configurators are powered by rules. They are built on a product database that includes data such as the features and functions of each part (maximum load, environmental exposure, usable lifespan) and how products work together within assemblies (fastener options, physical measurements, and wire sizes and colors). These rules are in place to make sure that misconfigurations do not happen and that everything works as it should. Configurable parameters include: product size and bore stroke, energy source, materials and finishes, and output power, duty cycle, and RPM.
Product configuration is good for business and makes customization scalable. Offering custom products can improve engagement, increases brand loyalty, widens the customer base, reduces work and returns, and grows profits and revenues. By investing in customization, companies are more likely to meet product targets. For example, companies that had no customization reached 64 percent of their revenue goals. Companies that invested in customization efforts, however, reached 72 percent of their revenue goals. Across the table—from quality, cost, and launch date—companies that invested in customization were around ten percent closer to their goals.
To find the right configurator, you should look for: real-time pricing, data available early on, 360 degree visualization, and customer experience. Product configurators can vary in complexity for different applications, so you need to find the best one for your business.
Take a look at the following visual deep dive to better understand the technology behind the product configurator below: