Have you seen those web and mobile applications that allow you to customize a product, changing its look and features to suit your needs? If your answer is yes, you've seen a product configurator in action.
A product configurator is a digital app that can be used on websites and apps by different users to "configure" or build their perfect product. For customers, this presents a great way of customizing their products and building something that showcases their personal taste and style.
Retailers like Ikea and Warby Parker are already using product configurators as part of their sales strategies and automobile companies like Nissan and Audi leverage configuration software to enhance the customer experience.
This article shows you what a product configurator is and how one can be used to enhance the customer experience and boost sales.
What Does Product Configuration Software Do?
Simply put, a product configurator—or configuration software—enables customers to customize their products. A configurator gives customers a visual interface where they can change various attributes (color, material, accessories, etc.) and view a fully personalized product designed to their specifications.
By giving customers a customizable product, brands can engage directly with customers, personalize the shopping experience and offer an immersive and engaging process that increases conversion and sales.
Instead of manually creating quotes and specifications, product configuration software automates the process, speeds up the sales cycle, and gets the item into production from one centralized hub that connects the buyer journey. The results speak for themselves. If you offer custom or configurable products, you need an online product configurator.
5 Product Configurator Software Must-Haves
- Visual product configuration that allows for dynamic product updates
- Flexible product rules that enable different kinds of configuration
- Document generation for quicker manufacturing
- Sales automation and dynamic pricing
- Integration with third-party software
Visual Product Configurator Types
A product configurator will guide its user through the process and give the customer the tools and choices they need to complete the order successfully. But not all configurator software is created equal. Let's take a look at the two major types of configurators.
Static Product Configurator
Static configurators or 2D product visualizers are the most straightforward kind of configuration software. They present a flat image that doesn't move, which means that even though shoppers can change the color and certain parts of the product, you can't spin the image around. In some 2D configurators, you have different cameras and angles to choose from, but you can customize components and select different product options.
3D Product Configurator
3D product configurators are full-fledged, responsive configuration software where users can rotate a 3D product rendering to get a 360º view of the product. Plus, besides giving users a better view of complex products with more parts, a configurator gives them the ability to customize and change parts. However, what makes a 3D product configurator most compelling is that it gives shoppers a more interactive experience that shows them exactly what they will get from their product.
Benefits of a Product Configurator
As you can see, the main benefit of product configuration is that it helps eCommerce stores and retailers of all shapes and sizes give their customers a buying experience similar to the one they’d get by going to a brick-and-mortar store. But that's not all. Let's see other benefits of product configuration.
Enable Better Product Understanding
A product configurator simplifies complex products because it enables users to interact with them before they purchase. It helps them see how things work and even how parts move. Customers can view the product in real-time and assess it in their own terms. This enhanced interaction with the product provides a treasure trove of data on customer behavior for marketers and salespeople.
Besides being stellar sales tools, product configurators simplify your manufacturing pipeline by capturing all the information your customer has input to the software. Product options, the customization process, and the customer preferences are all pushed to your ERP or CMS. That being said, configuration software also works as a configure, price and quote (CPQ) solution that can deliver the order to production before being delivered to the client.
Integrate with Third-Party Software
Another important benefit of product configurator software is that it integrates with third-party tools to enhance and speed up the sales process. For example, you can integrate an ERP or an eCommerce platform into your configurator to create quotes, sales orders, item descriptions, and even part numbers. Plus, by integrating a configurator into your eCommerce solution, you can manage stock lines and inventory as well.
Higher Visitor Engagement
Configurable products drive higher engagement than their static counterparts. Just by showing your customers a product they can tweak, they can become instantly hooked, even if it is only because of the novelty. Seeing how different product options appear in front of them is also a powerful psychological incentive for customers who can easily see themselves using that product once they have customized it per their specific needs.
Finally, some configurators allow customers to “place” the item considered within the environment it is intended for, creating even more engagement. Some advanced options enable this via augmented reality, but even just allowing customers to sketch out their home, room, porch, back deck or similar and then place the item within it allows them to ensure dimensional fit, while also creating a powerful visual of how the final product will look once it’s theirs, which creates a strong attachment.
Boost Conversion Rates
A configurator also gives marketers the ability to go truly omnichannel. There are offline configurators that can be installed to mobile devices or computers so salespeople can use them on the go, during events, or to show prospects how the product works during a 1:1 demonstration, creating a seamless marketing experience that doesn't stop at the website. Ultimately, a CPQ tool like a configurator enables customers to make informed decisions quickly as they have all the information to make a purchase at hand.
How Salsita Created a Product Configurator for KILO
Personalization, increased customer engagement, and interactive product visualization are the realities of the eCommerce landscape. 3D configurator solutions create an interactive shopping environment that provides tangible benefits for customers, both online and offline.
KILO, a Dutch furniture manufacturer whose business of customizable furniture was growing rapidly, needed a way to empower customers to create their own personalized furniture designs online. Salsita's 3D product configurator enabled them to automate this process for them as they continued to scale up their business.
To do so, we adapted our 3D product configurator framework to accommodate KILO's exceptional level of customizability. Then, we deployed it on KILO's e-shop so the designs the customer creates and submits can be sent directly to manufacturing for a seamless CPQ process.
In this way, customers can order highly customized pieces of furniture online. Our team also integrated the online configurator into KILO's manufacturing process, adding an order dashboard to the implementation that enables KILO to automatically map the designs onto the materials, reducing the manual intervention required to fulfill every order.
For a closer look at how we helped KILO build their 3D product configurator, check out the full case study here: Case Study: Product Configurator for KILO's Designer Furniture.