From tools to technology, product customization is a feature that has overtaken the e-commerce industry — and for a good reason. As more consumers than ever turn to online resources for their shopping needs, it’s evident that the majority wish to personalize their items, regardless of what they might be.
As a result, companies far and wide should consider incorporating product configurator software into their business going forward for maximum growth. However, this decisive decision can be quite complicated, and it’s not easy for organizations to know the answers to their most critical questions regarding these tools.
Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Stay tuned as we cover the features and services that should be considered when searching for the best app to fit your needs.
What is A Product Configurator Software?
Essentially, product configurators automate the process of item creation. Rather than manually customizing a product to fit your client’s needs, the software enables your client to personalize an item on their end. As such, you’ll be delivered with ready-to-be-made instructions, allowing your business to operate more efficiently and deliver on-time.
So, What’s the Big Deal?
Industries of all shapes and sizes are changing rapidly with the introduction of e-commerce, increasing customer demand and encouraging companies to find new solutions for streamlining operations. In recent years, it’s estimated that up to 20% of online customers are willing to pay premium prices for the ability to customize their items using a product customizer — that’s quite a large pool!
As such, offering product customization is one of the best ways to increase sales and charge higher prices. When 80% of consumers report a preference for companies that provide a personalized experience, there is nothing bad about the increase in customizable offerings.
How Do You Market Customizable Products?
Generally, having a product configurator means tweaking your marketing strategy slightly — though it usually grants you a slight edge on competitors. Modern customers are more aware of sales tactics than ever, meaning your plan should follow a “pull” method rather than a “push” approach, which could potentially deter their interest.
Fortunately, it’s easier to do this when offering extensive product customization. Rather than providing a select few colors or style options for an item, visitors of your online site can adjust features according to their preferences, further attaching themselves to the product emotionally and encouraging them to complete the purchase. To make this an appealing prospect, ensure your company places focus on customization during marketing, as this will prove to consumers your dedication to ultimate personalization.
Examples of Companies Using Product Configuration Software Today
As you will see from the following examples, product customization isn’t reserved for a select few products; virtually any industry can take advantage of this modern tool. Some companies currently doing so include:
- Nissan: From motors to exterior and interior colors, this veteran car company is making waves thanks to its extensive product configuration software. In fact, the brand expects 25% of its sales to be solely from its product customizer by 2022.
Blue Sky: By enabling customers to upload unique images onto planners and other printables, choose their desired fonts, pick colors and more, this printing company saw its sales increase by 20 percent.
Nike: This world-famous shoe brand shattered expectations when it launched its product customizer, enabling consumers to choose their shoe's final appearance with just a few mouse clicks. Personalized footwear was also sold at higher prices, with pairs starting at $170.
Nutella: Sometimes, even a small marketing stunt can boost sales tenfold. Nutella experienced this phenomenon firsthand when it enabled consumers to purchase custom jars with their names written on them, which subsequently increased revenue and media awareness for the company.
Other notable brands using a product configurator include Suunto, Pure Hockey, DodoCase and Michelle's Mods.
What Are the Benefits of Product Customization?
Besides providing an enhanced shopping experience for your clients, product customization offers various benefits for your business, including:
Larger Profit Margin: A recent consumer review revealed that 1 in 5 customers are willing to pay 20% or more for a personalized or exclusive product, making it a no-brainer for boosting revenue.
Less Rush: The same review found that customers are more understanding when it comes to a longer wait for customized items, meaning you’ll have more time to focus on providing the best service possible.
Broader Demographics: Consumers age 15-25 and 55 up are more willing to personalize their products and services, enabling you to reach a client pool far more extensive than ever before.
From shoes and clothes to yard equipment, pet accessories to kitchen tools and more, most product customization builds off an existing item that already boasts exceptional utility. As long as your business commits itself to maintaining the highest-quality products on the market, the possibilities are virtually endless.
How Do I Choose the Best Product Configurator for My Business?
Making the most informed decision regarding your growing online business is a lot easier than it sounds, especially when choosing the best product configurator for your operations. With the sheer number of apps available on the modern market, the process of selecting the best solution can often be overwhelming — but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to be.
Ultimately, every e-commerce business needs to focus on the balance between an efficient, practical and user-friendly product that helps a company achieve upwards growth. As you conduct your search for the right software, keep some of these critical considerations in mind:
Look and feel
You work hard to offer products that are well made and attractive to your customers, your product configurator should be held to the same standards. There are a myriad of cheap configurators out there that might do what you need them to do. But will they measure up to what the top brands offer? A beautiful configurator makes your customers want to play with it, it engages your customers in an outstanding experience with your brand.
Some design points to look out for:
- How professional does it look?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does it match your branding?
- Is your product enhanced by the configurator?
This hockey jersey configurator does what it needs to do, but it does not make you want to play with it because the user interface looks quite overloaded and boring.
Here the configurator compliments the product and has a professional and playful look. This will draw your customers to spend more time using it and ultimately buy!
Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for every company to shell out the same amount of money Nike spends on its product configurator. While effective, these software solutions are highly specialized and built from scratch, often completed by skilled agencies with multiple Fortune 500 clients. As a result, they can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars and call for months of development time — something most can’t afford.
In contrast, working with a local web development provider can be more trouble than it’s worth, no matter how cheap their prices may be. This software is complex and high maintenance, making it a challenge for inexperienced developers. If you allow yourself to fall for discounted prices, you may end up spending thousands of extra dollars on revisions.
So, what’s the best solution for the average, small to medium-sized business? We recommend using a self-service app, such as Kickflip. Our solution takes some of the burden off your shoulders by integrating customers into your ecommerce platform, including Shopify, Prestashop and Woocommerce.
Before anything else, you should always ensure a product customizer is compatible for integration with your e-commerce platform — or else you might have to perform a custom integration. Additionally, keep an eye on content management; we recommend sticking with WYSIWYG configurators or editors for a practical setup experience.
Some other features a worthwhile product configurator should include are:
Ability to edit themes, such as fonts and colors to make it match with your brand.
Responsive designs that are compatible with mobile devices.
Ability to add text and upload logos directly onto the product.
Upcharges that are calculated on the fly (i.e., setting base and extra prices for products in real-time).
Depending on how extensive your needs are, using a self-serve app can cost anywhere between $10 to several hundred dollars monthly. Don’t forget to examine a provider’s pricing scale before committing!
With these essential points in mind, there is a final factor that is, perhaps, the most important: Intuitiveness. After all, both you and potentially millions of users will be using it every day. Be sure to ask yourself these questions to get a feel for how intuitive your software choices are:
Is this software visually appealing?
Is it easy to navigate through the app?
Can I find answers to my questions easily?
Does this app allow me to render my live customizer?
Do I need to hire a specialist to set up the app, or can I do it myself?
How Important is Customer Service?
Finally, your product configurator needs to come with efficient customer support, whether via phone, chat or email. After all, you’re building a pretty complex piece of technology — you’ll most likely need some help along the way.
Ultimately, your solution’s customer service quality can make or break how useful it’ll prove in the long run. Responsive and helpful customer support is essential to running a business in any industry; in the e-commerce world, it’s vital. Whether you need help getting started or a quick solution for an issue, having someone readily available on the other line who can walk you through the process is a must.
Furthermore, this factor can also impact the experience of your clients. If a consumer presents you with a question that you’re not sure how to answer, your configurator’s provider should be able to help.
Understanding and finding the best product configurator for your business can be challenging, but it’s not rocket science. By following these guidelines and keeping your objectives in mind, you can ensure your business experiences unrestricted success on e-commerce sites.