In the era of online shopping, customers expect an online shopping experience that is not worth, but sometimes is even superior to an actual brick-and-mortar store. It is taken for granted that user can look at the picture of the product they are about to order, often change colour and size from the pre-determined sizes. But it goes further with customers wanting to fully custom solution to their needs while shopping from the comfort and safety of their home: an up-close look at every product detail, material, size and form, adding own logo, sometimes incorporating own design to the product is now possible thanks to a product configurator.
A product configurator is a digital technology that allows users to modify the characteristics or view customisable 2D or 3D models of the product in real-time. It can take many forms and provide multiple features from selecting the components while assembling own furniture, for example, or more simply changing the browsing product’s colour, size or material. The set of features mostly depends on the type of product that is being sold.
A web-based product configurator is a tool that is embedded mostly on e-commerce websites and provides users with opportunities to change product characteristics, design, style or components to understand what fits better in real-time. Kenner Soft Service GmbH as a professional web-based product configurator developer can state with certainty that it allows being ahead of the ever-changing customer needs and expectations about the searching product.
Worth noting is that consumers can select the best variant for them and examine all the fine details thanks to 2D or 3D graphics while increasing their confidence about the item.
For example, the famous American corporation Nike provides the ‘Design Your Own’ function where the customer can choose the material and colour and watch the difference.
A mobile product configurator is an application that provides more complex options connected with customising products or services. It is mostly used in areas where a lot of thinking and planning are needed. For example, the design of the room, the porch or the manufacturing parts. A mobile product configurator is very useful when you need to demonstrate your product or service offline to the client or business.
A VR (virtual reality) product configurator is used to create an immersive virtual environment for customers to interact with a product, explore design in-depth and view true-to-scale product models. In such a way businesses can share their customisable products with the consumers. However, such technology needs a user to have special headsets to play virtual reality that is why it is mostly used in the points of sales where headsets can be provided.
AR ( augmented reality) product configurator allows overlaying digital products over the real environment. It provides better visualization and deeper interaction. The main difference between AR and VR product configurators is that AR is developed as an application and can be played back just with a smartphone or iPad that are accessible for every person. For example, a German automotive manufacturer Porsche provides customers with an AR product configurator that can be downloaded from Google Play.
There are a lot of industries such as:
Thanks to the product configurator tool the business owners can directly address their potential clients with a message like “ Hello, we care about you. We created the greatest function to fade all your doubts about the product. Now, you can view all the smallest details, find your style, compare colours or materials, understand if it fits your purpose and lifestyle without leaving the apartment.”
A product configurator is directly related to e-commerce rapidly growing trends. The development of such a magic wand now is a step ahead. 64% of people age 18-34 desire customization according to Artifilabs.
Customer’s confidence about the purchasing product is not an easy-achieving business goal. However, every lock will be opened if you have a key - a product configurator. Create your own configurator with features like 3D viewing that help to explore as many aspects of the product as possible and emphasize uniqueness. In such a way you leave no causes for doubts. According to Field Agent, 83% of US smartphone users found product images and photos to be "very" and "extremely" influential. That means if the customer can configure a product and visualize it on the webshop page, this could be a powerful tool to persuade to order the product as it is now available in the format that is clear to users.
Customising by yourself
Not only helps to create a client's own design but also increases margins thanks to the emotional experience of product designing for yourself.
1 out of every 5 customers is willing to pay 20% more for a personalised or exclusive product (Deloitte research).
Reduce returns and refunds rates
As the buyer knows what he/she is going to get in the end, the need for returns and refunds subsides. By showing customers exactly what they're getting, brands are achieving an 80% reduction in online returns (Forbes).
Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
Imagine yourself as a client who with no problem examined the purchasing item, remade it for his/herself and has no worries about the end product, won’t you be happy? 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty (Salesforce).
Reducing the load on customer support
As long as the user has an opportunity to interact with a product online in any way, customer support will get fewer clarifying questions and calls. Respectively, saving time and speeding up the purchase. Also, shoppers who view 3D images of products are 11 times more likely to purchase than those who don’t view them.
Opens new business heights
While the return and refund rates are declining, the key business indicators like ROI and profit are growing. As a product configurator solves e-commerce sales problems like product interactivity, content quality, communication, customer engagement, it has a fast payback period and positively influences valuable metrics.
For example, companies that replaced 2D static images on 3D models based on WebGL*, are achieving 40% higher online conversion rates and a 30% improvement in average sales prices (Forbes).
High implementation costs
Product configurator development and implementation is not a cheap pleasure. The price will depend on the type of the configurator and the number or complexity of included features ( of course VR or AR configurators will cost much more than web-based product configurators). The good news is that it has a fast payback period as was mentioned above. The approximate price range starts from 10 000$ and can reach millions of dollars.
Price and delivery time increasing
The development and implementation of a product configurator can impact products’ prices and delivery time. However, it is not a problem if you show your customers that the product configurator is nothing else than a premium client service. Especially, when some people are ready to pay more for such a personalisation tool.
It is increasingly important to choose the right way while starting the development of a product configurator. If you do not have enough internal resources that allow you to correctly determine and realise the most suitable features for your e-commerce website, do not risk. Otherwise, you will lose money, time and get no result. Choose a software development company that not only has strong expertise but also can advise you in making the right decision in your e-commerce field. Kenner Soft Service GmbH combines both things while having years of experience which we want to share in order to partly show the development process.
Project: Web-based 3D product configurator.
Description: Product configurator for the online shop with 3D live-preview of configurable features like colour, style, individual elements and the end result.
Latest price calculation and estimated day of delivery according to the complexity of the order. Allows viewing every fine detail inside and outside the configurable product.
Time: 600 hours
Costs: 27000 €
Result: The client evaluated the developed product configurator as a technological breakthrough.
Project: Web-based product configurator
Description: Product Configurator for the online shop that allows configuring their own electronics hardware with components choice, accessories and services. Customers can assemble a dream high-end hardware and choose: customized case, components up to the level of each individual element as well as optional accessories. AI-enabled programmes allow a mix of choices that are right for specific hardware, learn customer preferences and suggest the best suitable options.
Time: approximately 2400 hours
Costs: 105000 €
Result: An innovative way of providing a service (assembling own hardware) and product (components) together on the e-commerce website. It is a powerful tool that attracts customers and increases the conversion rate.
A product configurator is an excellent and modern tool for every e-commerce business. Even though an advanced configurator with various options, AI-enabled, allowing customers a fully customizable experience might require significant budget and time, such technology will surely have a great return on investment even in a relatively short time. Besides, investing in a product configurator company stays one step ahead of the competition, while providing unparalleled customer experience and service. It is essential, however, to have a clear strategy while defining what the configurator must achieve and which company to trust with such an important development.