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Areas of Application and Goals of Online Configurators

Configurators as an effective tool for digitization, automation and optimization

In this article, we present the various areas of application for online configurators. We explain which problems you can solve, what the advantages and goals are in the respective area of application and how your company and your customers can benefit from them.

In the age of Industry 4.0, digitization, automation and optimization of business and production processes are increasingly required and required as a standard. Any type of online configurator can be a successful tool for this, since these are not only an attractive option for your (potential) customers to configure products or services online themselves, but can also be used in a company at any point along the value chain. With their use, you reduce costs, increase sales and thus improve efficiency.

Marketing → Generate more leads online

3D sofa configurator

Unique selling proposition in the e-commerce jungle

Thanks to the Internet with its various online search and comparison portals (Google, ....), the comparability of products and services has become extremely transparent. If you want to stand out from your competitors and appear as high as possible in the web jungle, you have to stand out with your digital offering. A product or service configurator can help as a unique selling proposition by offering users/customers a new experience that stands out from the competition. If, for example, company A offers exactly the same decking boards online as company B, but company A has a configurator to plan the terrace and calculate how many boards you actually need, company A will certainly be able to register more online purchases .

Better user experience thanks to co-design

The megatrend of individualization (mass customization) is a profound development in many areas of society. With a configurator, customers can configure their desired product independently, anywhere and at any time (stored rule logic prevents incorrect configurations) without having to wait long for an answer from a sales consultant. With a Mobile First Design approach, offers can also be obtained from mobile devices, anytime and anywhere. This improves the user experience for your (potential) customers immensely, and you will quickly realize that a better customer experience will mean an advantage over your competitors.

Make the product tangible online thanks to visual commerce (e.g. 3D configurator)

Product and service configurators make it possible to present simple, varied or very complex products and services in a clear and structured way and to guide the user through the offer. By visualizing the individually assembled product, customers can better imagine the product and identify with it more. The display options range from simple image visualization to a 2D or static 3D model (the product can be rotated and viewed from any side) to parametric 3D models (suitable for parameters with continuous values and dynamic visualizations). This increases loyalty and anticipation of a product and thus also the chances of a successful purchase.

In order to make configured products even more tangible, they can easily be placed in the user's home. This is done using augmented reality or virtual reality technologies, which are now very mature and can be run on all devices.

Collect contact information

Customer data is an important success factor for all companies. In order to get this, you have to give something back to the users/ (potential) customers. exchange. The benefit that is promised at the beginning of the configurator can be a target price, an offer or a visualization of the individually assembled product. In return, a potential customer leaves their contact details, which you can use to contact them for further marketing or sales activities.

In this blog post you can read how the inhibition threshold of end customers for the transfer of personal data can be lowered.

Sales (field service) → Digital, efficient sales process

3D garden and pool house configurator

Automatic lead qualification and thus a higher hit rate

For individual products, such as a car, a terrace, a solar system or other, a personal price can only be calculated after configuration. By displaying prices, the prospect can see the investment volume at an early stage in the sales process. As a result, unqualified leads are often already sorted out. So you can focus on processing qualified leads. Your sales department becomes more efficient because you need fewer staff and you save costs. The motivation of your sales staff is higher because they only take care of promising leads and can therefore sell more.

Read more in this blog post: “ how to increase the conversion rate of configurators ”.

Reduce on-site visits and sales costs

If a configurator is set up correctly, it can be operated without much prior knowledge and without the support of a sales person. (Potential) customers quickly receive a recommended price offer. Time-consuming on-site visits are only made for qualified leads, which saves you time and money.

Digital data acquisition

In order for on-site visits to be made more efficient, a configurator needs a simple way of digitally capturing data. For example, floor plans, room scans, and plans can be uploaded digitally or directly via mobile devices. You can save your sales staff the tedious task of measuring and sketching floor plans and other measurements, making them more efficient. The recorded data can then be passed on along the value chain and used right through to production without having to be re-recorded manually.

Sales (back office, order entry) → Efficient preparation of offers and sales documentation

Solar calculator and offer configurator

Automatic calculation of target prices and generation of target price offers

A configurator relieves your sales team of the often complex and time-consuming preparation of offers and the sometimes complicated calculation of recommended prices for products or services with many variants. Complex price and discount structures are stored centrally and the quotation process is standardized and automated. The susceptibility to errors can be reduced enormously and the valuable knowledge is not dependent on people.

Automatic generation of sales documentation

The creation of sales documents (offers, price calculations, parts lists or construction and installation plans) can also be automated and standardized. Your employees are relieved of these often time-consuming administrative tasks. They will thank you. The error rate can also be reduced by the stored rule logic and the central storage of all relevant data.

Your offer is available 24/7

The example of our customer Helion Energy AG (part of the AMAG Group) from 2021 shows that this can mean, for example, an increase in sales of up to 400%. At the same time, by shifting the offer composition to the customer, your sales department is relieved and your costs can be reduced be reduced by 50%. Read the detailed reference report here.

AVOR (work preparation) and production → seamless production

3D kitchen configurator Dish

However, the automation process is not yet complete with the sales documents created by the configurator. After a successful sale, technical drawings and production data (3D models: DXF, DWG, STEP, CAM, etc.) can be automatically generated and transmitted. To do this, we develop interfaces to your existing software. In the example of a kitchen manufacturer , the data is transmitted directly to the CNC machines in the joinery and the customer-specific and automated production begins.

Everything is possible, from integration into your online shop, data exchange with the ERP and CRM or the interface to CAD or the production software.

Other areas of application → Optimizing processes, promoting digitization

Data Analytics

Using the data that can be collected through individual configurations, you get to know your users and customers better and their preferences, problems, etc. (e.g. what is often configured, where the configuration is canceled) and you can adapt your offer accordingly or develop new products. This data is also an important basis for the research and development departments.

Marketing Automation → Personalized Content

A configurator is ideal for lead nurturing and can be directly integrated into the marketing automation process. The behavior of individual users is measured in order to then display personalized content or offers. For example, if a user completes their configuration but does not submit a contact request, an email is sent in the Marketing Automation Tool with personalized content relating to their interests. In this way, the commitment of potential customers can be increased and, ideally, a purchase can be concluded.

Interfaces to surrounding systems → fewer media breaks

In order to prevent media breaks and the maintenance and storage of duplicate data, a configurator should be connected to peripheral systems such as ERP, CRM, PIM etc. and thus integrated into the existing IT landscape. Appropriate interfaces are programmed and the systems are connected to one another.

It is also important to ensure that important data such as product information (prices, logic, variants, etc.) is only kept in one place and that all other systems (including the configurator) that can read or write data via interfaces.

Conclusion: Configurator as the heart of the digitization strategy

As you can see, there are virtually no limits to the use of product and service configurators. They can be used in every area along the value chain. We recommend a pragmatic digitization approach. Start in the area of your company where you want to solve the most pressing problem. After the successful implementation of the first project, you will continue to develop the configurator step by step in manageable projects along the process chain. In this way you ensure practical feasibility and that your investments are worthwhile and that the risks are low.

Here you can find out more about “ Product configurators enable new business models

Do you want to know where is the best place to start this process in your company? We gladly support you.

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