How product configurators deliver a personalized buying experience

Last updated on March 31, 2021
How product configurators deliver a personalized buying experience
A product configurator with its interactive, immersive, and intuitive interface offers a personalized and convenient buying space to customers.

Customers today want to be the co-creators of every product they own. Every customer that walks into your store is a fastidious purchaser and is very choosy about product features.

But at the same time, 83% customers say they also want the convenience of imagining their final products. Having a physical product in-store for every possible design variant is nearly impossible. It demands a massive inventory.

A product configurator with interactive interface gives your customers the power to design their own products. Configurators have an array of design options, ideas, product properties, etc. in the palette from where the customers can personalize the product designs.

Product configurator: The medium for a personalized buying experience

Ideally, product configurators are digital platforms that display customized products in real-time in 3D and can be embedded online on your websites as a sales tool. Customers can interact with the 3D models to tweak the design specs as per the need through secure mediums.

3D Configurators are driven by a powerful and well-structured logical rules-based engine and can be interconnected with other CAD engineering and business systems. The integration ensures quick and real-time 3D results of customization and enhanced sales experience.

Depending upon the products you sell, you can use either DriveWorks for products like furniture, building components, sheet metal parts, etc.; while for the heavy engineering industry, Tacton is the more preferred platform.

4 Ways a product configurator offers a personalized buying experience

1. 360 degree product view

360 degree product view

According to Aberdeen group, to be able to see the product before ordering increases customer retention by 3.9% annually.

The idea of ‘seeing is believing’ is driven by the fact that customers don’t just shop anymore; they search for convenience during the shopping. And businesses that don’t offer the ease of shopping are set to face loss in sales revenues.

A 360 degree product configurator platform:

  • Allows the customers to see products from all angles by rotating the CAD model
  • Offers an immersive buying experience to customers with enhanced product interaction
  • Facilitates ease in purchase with reduced risks leading to a higher conversion rate

Your product configurator implementation engineer pre-populates the viewer with a master CAD model of the product and logical rules to take commands from the user. As the design features are specified, the rules update the model in real-time with parametric properties and the user can see the changes in 3D along with other details such as price, delivery dates, etc.

2. Real-time 3D model with guided-selling

Real-time 3D model with guided-selling

A configurator equipped with a real-time 3D model display is an excellent sales feature to guide the customers in decision-making. As the customer fills-up the user forms, the logical rules compute the formulas and equations and display the result in 3D for the selected specifications. This is particularly useful when you have huge product catalogue.

An ideal custom door configuration process using a configurator includes a series of user forms for:

  • Inputs regarding door type such as double door, single door and its material, etc.
  • Specification of door geometry and dimensions such as door width, height, and depth
  • Documentation of accessories, lock, handles, door closures, etc.
  • Order confirmation to generate technical documents and release for manufacturing

This way, the 3D product configurator gives huge freedom of product designing by the way of handholding throughout the customization process. Even a layman can specify his choices without any boundaries and manufacturers don’t have to worry about ECOs.

Door manufacturer gets 70,000+ door design options with DriveWorks

A US-based specialty door manufacturer deployed a product configurator using DriveWorks with preset design options for locks, accessories, handles, door frames, primary material, etc. This gave their customers access to 70,000+ door designs, accessories, etc. to make a selection from.

3D Door Component Configuration
3D Door Component Configuration
3D Door Configuration
3D Door Configuration
Read Case Study  →

3. AI-CRM/ERP integration to leverage past shopping patterns

CRM/ERP integration

This feature is particularly helpful when you have a big customer base and want to offer them personalized service. Personalization will not only display the right options at right time but also treats your customers with the convenience of decision making leading to increased sales.

As per Strategy Analytics, 41% customers believe that AI has offered convince for their shopping and make their lives better.

Integrating your product configurator with other business systems such as ERP and CRM where your customer’s data is saved can help. AI algorithms use the past shopping patterns of each customer and display relevant options of accessories, related products, etc. to enable up-selling. This eases customer decision making and they return to you automatically when they make the next purchase.

4. Get sales documents online with your own operational space

Get sales documents online with your own operational space

When you allow your customers to order the items as per their choice, they would want to keep it confidential until the product is received to stay unique. An online 3D product configurator offers your customer log-in credentials where they can save their documents for customized 3D products, sales documents, invoices, etc. This gives a personal space where they can come back and review their orders and track them.

Process of generating personalized sales documents:

  • Once the customer confirms the order by logging in, the configurator interacts with your company’s primary CAD systems to generate a Bill of Materials, manufacturing drawings, and other documents.
  • The configurator combines this data with machine availability and inventory information from ERP to calculate the custom price, sales quotes, delivery dates, etc.

Sometimes, the configurator systems are also equipped to send an email for sharing various sales documents to customers within minutes of order confirmation.

Automated sales documentation with DriveWorks SS table configurator

A US-based stainless steel furniture manufacturer developed an online table configurator intending to automate BoM and sales quotes. When we embedded the DriveWorks Live onsite, it also led to offering a secure login for customers to place orders. It established security and flexibility for customers as they could pick up from where they left the last time.

Online Configurator for SS Furniture
Online Configurator for SS Furniture
Configurator Development using DriveWorks
Configurator Development using DriveWorks
Read Case Study  →

Give your customers what they expect

Customers are gradually becoming the center of every product that is manufactured. Thus, it is clear that your sales grow by offering what your customer wants than focusing on what your competitors are doing.

And product configurator offers your customers ease, a feel of personal buying space, and unique products. Configurators not only offer an enhanced shopping experience but also a hassle-free and error-free sales-to-manufacturing cycle.

Usha B. Trivedi

About Author :

is a mechanical design engineer at Hitech Engineering services – a company invested in industrial CAD drafting, modeling, and design automation. Ms. Trivedi writes about solution finding approach in CAD and design automation challenges backed by her years of exploration in industrial designing in furniture, millwork, and metal fabrication designs.

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