Long ago, when internet shopping wasn’t as developed as it is now, all buyers’ activities were “offline”. Purchasers didn’t have much choice – they were dependent on what they could find on the store shelves. This meant that brands were in a very comfortable position and they could dictate terms to clients.
Now, we are in 2019, and the situation presents much differently. Almost every company has to be online and it’s very easy to judge their products/services by giving feedback via social media or different forums. This has forced companies to start making their offers more and more competitive and tailored to the expectations of customers. Now, as never before, it’s the customer that holds the cards.
Let’s imagine you own a company that sells furniture and you have your standard offer. However, many of your products may not be perfect for your clients’ needs. For instance, they may want to buy your desk model, but in a different color, size or shape. What if you… give them a chance to create the desk of their dreams, exactly tailored to their expectations?
But how? There is a great solution that will help your product be distinguished from others and make your offer more competitive. Create a product configurator on your website! This is a win-win situation for consumers and businesses.
Product configurator on your website
Let’s start from the basics. What is a product configurator? It’s a software application for designing products that are perfectly tailored to customer’s personal needs. It allows customers to add or change functionalities of a product by style or color or create a completely custom product to buy.
Thanks to a product configurator, potential customers can not only create a product that they want, but also see it in a 360 degree product viewer, with a 2d or 3d interactive preview. It means that a buyer can look at a product from all angles, as if he held it in his hand. Just think how this functionality can affect your client’s purchase and increase your sales.
What’s more, you can (and should) make your product configurator completely responsive (adjust the page display to all kinds of mobile devices). It’s very important, because many of your clients may browse your website on mobile phones or tablets and the appearance can’t discourage potential buyers to explore the functionality.
As the demand for interactive shopping tools is constantly growing, we assume that the importance of product configurators will be bigger and bigger in the coming years.
Why build a product configurator?
We are sure that you are conscious of the current struggle for customers’ attention, especially in the e-commerce industry. People are getting resistant to different kinds of traditional advertisements. They need to be truly intrigued by your websites’ content in order to spend more time there. But having someone merely visit your website is not your ultimate goal. Your aim is to increase your conversion rate – the percentage of your website users that completed a desired goal – like buying your product.
By creating a product configurator, you can sell your products faster. It’s very likely that your competitors haven’t yet implemented such features on their websites. It means that you can be one step ahead of your competitors. People will choose your product because you give them an opportunity to create something special and very personal. The product configurator gives potential customers the freedom to tailor products to their needs and specifications.
Product personalisation is a huge trend of the last few years. We have already mentioned it in the article “Most E-commerce trends for 2018”, but we would like to remind you that according to Invesp research:
“45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations” and “53% of online shoppers believe that retailers who personalize the shopping experience provide a valuable service”.
So, by giving your clients the opportunity to build the products of their dreams, not only will your brand be better remembered, but also your potential customer will be much more involved in the whole buying process. And it can lead to them becoming more… loyal to your company. Your potential customer will remember this unique and exciting experience that you delivered to him. And he will probably come back for more, because you made him happy.
Another advantage of creating a product configurator is the fact that you will relieve your customer service from certain obligations. Logistic, production, and accounting processes will be automated. Imagine your customer service department having to process every single order…
Before, people who wanted personalization of a product had to call or write to the store support and wait hours for an answer. Now, a customer can create a product that he needs in a few minutes. He will see its visualisation in 2d or even 3d immediately along with the price. Thanks to implementing a product configurator you will save you and your customer time… :)
What’s more, the store administrator doesn’t have to value all available products. He needs to price only the basic parts of the product and the configurator will automatically evaluate the product. This tool also decreases the cost of manufacturing products that will not find a buyer in the end.
Product Configurator Examples
There are some kinds of industries in which product configurator creation became more common than in the others. They are: Clothing & Apparel Accessories, Heavy Equipment Machinery, Strength & Fitness Equipment and Automotive.
Let’s focus on the first mentioned category.
Nike was one of the first brands that offered an online customization tool for its footwear. The project is called NikeID. They give clients an opportunity to become the designers of their shoes and create a fully customized purchase. Their customers could customize almost every part of the sneakers and change the colors and materials of their base, overlay, laces, lining, outsole, and many more. They can also adapt the text and logo that appears on shoes to clients’ preferences. The company provides a 360 view of their shoe combinations in real-time.
It is also a great example of embracing an omnichannel approach, the aim of which is to blur the line between online and offline interaction. Why? Because their customers can not only customise their shoes online, but also offline, in specific stores, called NIKEiD studios. They are located in different countries around the world, like: China, USA, Germany, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom.
In NikeID studios customers can use touchscreens to create the shoes of their dreams. They can also count on the help of design consultants or make an appointment with them before arriving.
Nike provides customers with the same high quality experience in every possible channel of sales. If you are interested in reading more about the omni channel approach, take a look at this article.
PlasticExpress – our work
We have had a few opportunities to build amazing product configurators for our clients. One of our last projects was made for Contra – a company that specializes in the production of advertising articles made of plastics, especially PoS and display products and plexiglass processing. We have created the first online store in Poland that sells plastic plates, with a product configurator, adjusted to the shape and dimension the customer requires.
Thanks to the implemented solutions, our client has reached new market segments. What is more, their sales and customer base have increased consistently. The system has allowed them to tap into a new potential market, giving clients the opportunity to customize their plastic products to meet their needs.
If you operate in a very competitive industry, where customers require an individual approach, it may be very beneficial to build a product configurator on your website. Thanks to the configurator, you will optimize and automate the sales process in your company. You will also increase your customers’ engagement, relieve your customer support from arduous ordering processes and make your potential client very happy, because they will receive exactly what they want.
At Dotinum we have a programming department that can build all kinds of product configurators. We can work on pictures of products provided by you or prepare 3D models of products. We will make sure that the configurator is as simple as possible to use. We will also make sure it works quickly and that it is also convenient to use on mobile devices.
Tell us what you are planning and we will implement it together with you.
Check also our presentation on Slideshare👇