12 November 2014
Product configuration allows for customer self-service, reduced workloads for your team, and even greater assurance for your shop that the order is correct. For companies selling complex products and for their customers, there’s an abundance of benefits to product configuration.
The ability for the customer to self-serve is more important than an overwhelming amount of functions and features.
The goal is for your customer to be able to use product configuration for their own benefit, and that only works if they understand what they’re doing. With the customer experience in mind, how do you find a product configuration solution that works for you and easy to use for your customers? Your products might be complex, but finding a configurator doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some essential features for product configuration:
Product configuration means customization. For a lot of businesses, though, manufactured products come along with regulations and compliance issues that must be followed. A quality configurator prevents the customer from custom building products that are against regulation. If your customer tries to select options that don’t cohere together, help them with a guided selling solution that guides the customer towards an option that works for them.
Other Constraints and Dependencies.
Constraints and dependencies are huge factors in manufacturing complex machines. Some parts take more power than others. And because of the laws of physics, the machine that’s being built cannot use more power than is made available. Not all combinations of parts work together! When crafting a machine, an effective product configuration solution knows to set constraints on the how many and what types of high-power, high-energy-consumption parts may be used. Similarly, some parts only work in conjunction with other parts. If such dependencies exist, a configurator should automatically identify them and notify the customer who is “building” the product via the software.
Product configuration is only good if it works with both the front end and the back end. If a customer uses a configurator to assemble a product that you have no way of offering, that’s a lose-lose situation. The configurator should automatically link the customer’s entries and requirements to specific modular parts and products that are available. Also, you save time when the configurator itself automatically generates the bill of materials based on these specific modules.
Product configuration is more than just an entry tool. Get the most out of a configurator by linking to schematics or other high-quality visuals that represent the product. Car configurators are especially good at using visuals to entice customers and to get them excited about what they’re building. Scion, one of Toyota’s brands targeted towards a younger market, features a configurator with animated clips in addition to the normal specifications. And once the car is “built” within the configurator, show it off to your customer with the selected colors and features!
Emerging markets are on the rise, especially in the B2B market where configurators are most beneficial due to the complex products. As you prepare your company for potential business across borders, it’s best if your configurator is prepared as well. Supporting multiple languages is crucial to the international customer experience.
Ah, finally. At the end of product configuration, the customer wants a quote. More advanced configurators are capable of offering more than just a quote though. To maximize the customer experience, you want a configurator that has the ability to offer discounts based on a number of factors, including where the customer is located and what selections they’ve made in configuration. And just as above, you grow your international business when you take into account varying currencies.
Customer experience is key.
And configurators not only allow self-service, but an unprecedented level of customization in the hands of your customer. Convenience, customization, and commerce. Click here to learn more about how Dynamicweb’s eCommerce solution integrates with Cincom’s state-of-the-art Guru configurator to help you help your customers.