By Darshak D. Patel
Product configurators allow B2B customers to customize items in real time from a variety of components and options. Product configuration as part of eBusiness/eCommerce is essential in providing a seamless and more personalized customer experience. Product configuration is so much more than color, size, and material selections; it enables complex combinations and variances in construction, shape, and functionality. There are a multitude of algorithms and unique identifiers that run in the background. Thousands of options and restrictions must be indexed and updated regularly.
A product configurator is a component of the user interface (UI) which dictates the user experience (UX). Here are five things to consider:
- Assign unique identifiers. Not only does it simplify the repurchase process, it can be used to identify and reward customers for referrals. This identification system also ensures that your clients receive the right products and that shipping costs stay low.
- Leverage dynamic pricing science. In this competitive climate, price, demand, and market conditions change rapidly. Dynamic pricing enables companies to respond in real time while providing the most advantageous options for the customer. Complete configuration details can then be sent to the customer and to the sales rep.
- Enable a next-generation user experience. The user interface and experience should be seamless. At the most basic level your modeler should include definition of parts, complete structural data, dynamic pricing. Any restrictions or potential conflicts should push an alert to the customer and to the engineering team for immediate review.
- Personalize the experience. Full integration with backend systems such as ERP and CRM provides efficiency and agility for responding to customers’ unique needs and preferences on the fly.
- Ensure scalability. Customized solutions allow companies to create their ideal system today with the flexibility to add more features tomorrow. Some key components include:
- Adding custom text to products
- Sharing configurations in social media or email
- Adding customized products to a wish list
- Enabling easy access to quotation and negotiation tools
- Automating bill of material (BOM)
- Providing free training and support
- 3D visualization via third-party (REST/SOAP)
- CAD model design via third-party (REST/SOAP)