A professional, well-designed website, good products and services, and a comprehensive marketing plan are all essential components of a successful enterprise. But now, more than ever, it is the customer experience that brands must place their primary focus on. CX has become increasingly important to both consumers and brands that wish to remain competitive in an oversaturated marketplace.
Brands and marketers utilize many tools and strategies to improve the customer experience at all touchpoints along the customer journey map. One such tool that has grown in popularity and effectiveness is a product configurator. Using product configuration software to showcase your products can deliver a truly positive and memorable customer experience that rivals that of your competitors.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING ABOUT a PRODUCT CONFIGURATOR?
- Product options
- Sales team set-up
- Omnichannel experience
- Customer journey
Do you need a product configurator?
So, what is a product configurator? Put simply, it's an application tool that enables you to present a product in all of its variations to a customer. As parameters are input or feature selections are made, the consumer can see the changes to the product in real-time.
While product configuration can undoubtedly be an instrumental part of developing a customer journey map, you may be wondering if you really need one. It's true — a product configurator is not a necessity for every type of business. Consider the following questions to see if a product configurator would benefit your organization and your customers:
- Is your product available in several different models, options, and with various features? If so, chances are you cannot display them all at once. It is also unlikely that you will want to produce what could be potentially hundreds of different versions of a product without actually knowing if there is a high demand for each particular version.
- How your sales team operates when taking orders for different versions of your product. Do they spend an ample amount of time detailing the specs and features of a product for the manufacturing department after the customer has selected it? If so, they might not be able to devote much time to actually selling the product.
How a product configurator solves these problems and also delivers great CX
Product configuration software can also be considered your solutions configurator. With this advanced application, you can easily and quickly show customers multiple versions of a product using highly detailed 3D images rendered in real-time based on the customer's criteria.
This not only aids your sales team but delivers a more interactive and engaging experience to the customer who gains a stronger relationship with your brand by actually being able to view the exact version of their desired product.
And, with the ability to record the data of the most popular product configurations, you can also quickly identify your most popular product versions. Then, when a customer visits your product configuration website, the software can provide suggestions based on the most popular features chosen, further enhancing this touchpoint along the customer journey map.
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Finally, there is no need for your sales team to waste time recording details and filling out forms for the manufacturing department. The customer's chosen criteria can be sent directly to manufacturing once a purchase is made. This serves to improve efficiency in your organization, increase the speed at which a product can be produced, and eliminate mistakes. Customers are happy because their order is received promptly, and the chance that they will receive exactly what they ordered is greatly improved.
Product configurators in physical stores
Product configurators have become much more common in the e-commerce marketplace. And the benefits to the customer experience cannot be denied. The ability for customers to interact with and customize their products serves to increase sales conversions. But product configurators can also play an integral role in shaping the customer experience in brick and mortar locations.
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A customer might want to see a virtual representation of their ideal vision, as with Invita, one of Denmark's leading suppliers of kitchens. Using a kitchen configurator in their physical location, Invita can allow the customer to design their perfect kitchen with ease. It can be an ideal marketing and sales tool in furniture showrooms, kitchen remodeling businesses, custom car or bicycle manufacturers, and many others.
The Invita showroom contains samples of all the material options to aid in the selections, helping customers quickly make a selection and see it rendered in real-time on the screen. This eliminates the need for customers to try and imagine how their new kitchen might look. Instead, it is right there before them, and they can quickly make changes if desired.
Additional benefits to the customer experience
So how else does product configuration help improve the customer experience both when the configurator is in use and even when it is not?
Well, for starters, product configurators take the guesswork out of the product creation process. With set parameters, customers can be informed if certain materials are unavailable or if certain features are incompatible. And, depending on the product, the configuration software can act as a step-by-step guide, preventing the customer from moving on to one menu of options before the prior selection has been completed.
Overall, it improves customer satisfaction and eliminates many pain points that may cause customers to turn to a competitor.
In addition, product configurators serve to create a relationship with your customers, even after the sale has been completed, leading to an increase in customer retention. Customers that have used a configurator to create their own unique product will subsequently form a deeper connection with that product. This improves the customer experience at touchpoints well beyond the initial use of the product configurator.
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Many brands that have previously relied on professional product photography have successfully moved to 3D images and further into product configuration. And Svane Køkkenet, a Danish high-quality kitchen manufacturer, can tell you how easy it was. Aided by Cadesign form in the production of photorealistic 3D images, Svane Køkkenet then upgraded to a GoCustom configurator. The 3D imaging data can be transferred to the configurator and other interactive sales tools, enabling customers to easily mix and match different kitchen components and view the kitchen from multiple angles.