What is a product configurator?
Product configurators essentially simplify the process of product creation. They empower your customers to tailor their chosen product directly, leading to precise, ready-to-use instructions for manufacturing. This not only enhances your business efficiency but also guarantees prompt delivery. It also increases customer satisfaction as customers can see and design their products according to their tastes, fostering a sense of ownership.
The benefits of a product configurator
Building a product configurator can revolutionize your business, giving you a number of awesome advantages.
Increased customer confidence: A product configurator allows your customers to visualize their product rendering in real-time, therefore giving them an accurate representation of their custom products before making a purchase. Visualizing the product they're creating boosts their confidence in it, particularly when they can’t physically touch or see the product.
Reduced manufacturing errors: A product configurator ensures that every aspect of a customer’s custom order is accurately captured, removing the possibility of misinterpretations or oversight.
Reduced production time: A product configurator will help you manage more custom orders and thereby streamline your production process allowing you to fulfill orders faster.
Boosted sales: Having a product configurator can truly lead to higher conversion rates due to the enhanced product’s perceived value. Indeed, 81% of consumers would be willing to pay more for customized clothing, 79% for customized footwear, 76% for customized furniture and 77% for customized fashion accessories and jewelry.
Integration with ecommerce platforms: Online product configurators can often be easily connected to various ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Woocommerce, Wix and more.
Choosing the best way to build your product configurator
When it comes to building a product configurator, there are different options available to you.
Microsoft Excel: Building a basic product configurator in Microsoft Excel is feasible for smaller companies with limited needs, as it's commonly used and offers powerful calculation capabilities. However, to build a product configurator in Excel, you will need advanced Excel skills. This includes a deep understanding of formulas and functions, particularly those related to logic and lookup such as IF, VLOOKUP, or INDEX MATCH. You should also be proficient in data validation to create drop-down lists for product options. Knowing how to use PivotTables and macros could be useful for complex configurations. Additionally, skills in Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programming would be beneficial for creating a more dynamic and interactive configurator. It's also crucial to consider how the Excel product configurator will integrate with other systems and meet future business needs, as it will not be suitable for online use, nor user friendly.
Custom web development: With custom coding, you’ll be able to get much more advanced features and user-friendliness than with an Excel-based product configurator. Creating your own product configurator is possible, but it demands a skilled web development team composed of web developers and UX-UI designers. There is no doubt that this option requires the largest financial investment, ranging from fifty to hundred thousands of dollars. It’s also the most time consuming solution as it will take you several months to more than a year to go live. Building a product configurator from scratch gives you the advantage of having a tool that's tailor-made for your business needs and specifications. However, it's important to consider the ongoing costs associated with this approach. Regular updates will be necessary to keep the configurator current with product changes, market trends and technological advances, and these updates will add significant expense over time.
Product configurator software: To build a product configurator, using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offers the best value for the money. This option completely reduces the barrier of entry for your business as you can often start for free. One of the greatest advantages of SaaS is that you get to benefit from cutting-edge technology financed by thousands of users like you. The cost of development is shared. Additionally, saas product configurators, such as Kickflip, often come with easy-to-use product builders making it easy to build and update your configurator.
It is true that an out-of-the-box solution might not be as bespoke as a custom-built solution, but most of them allow you to customize the user interface to match your website. Finally, these solutions are very well integrated with your ecommerce platform, allowing you to go live and start making sales as fast as you want. In a nutshell, embracing SaaS for your product configurator is a game-changer! What's not to love about a cost-effective, user-friendly, and highly customizable solution?
How to build a product configurator with Kickflip
Kickflip stands out as one of the leading SaaS product configurator solutions in the market, renowned for its advanced features, user-friendly interface and top notch support. With Kickflip, you're not just building a product configurator, you're crafting a delightful journey for your customers.
Within the next section, we’ve put together all the steps to make building your product configurator as easy as possible, along with plenty of video tutorials to help you along the way. Let's do this!
Step 1: Start your free trial
You can follow along with this tutorial by signing up for a free trial. Feel free to connect Kickflip to your ecommerce platform right away, or you can do that later on.
Step 2: Define your custom program
Find out which parts of your product will be customizable: this process involves understanding the different components of the product that can be modified or adjusted to meet unique customer preferences. To make a product that truly resonates with your customers, understanding their needs and preferences will guide you in selecting the most suitable custom product options.
Now let’s imagine that you want to create a custom necklace. To do this, you’ll need to decide what you are going to let your customers customize on the product, as shown on the table.
Step 3: Prepare your product images
To provide your customers with an outstanding visualization of their customization, it's essential to have high-resolution images of custom parts showing perspectives of the product. In this case, for example, you would need images for the chain, the pendant, the diamond and the charm.
Removing the background
Creating a path in Photoshop
Creating a clipping mask
Desaturate and adjust levels to make your image white
When you are done preparing your images, make sure they are all saved as transparent PNG-24 files.
Step 4: Add a new product
On the Kickflip admin, create a new product.
Step 5: Create your custom product using Kickflip’s product builder
To offer custom product options to your customers, you need to create questions. Questions are what you want to ask your customers and answers are the possible answers your customers will select. For example, a question for this custom necklace is “what kind of stone do you want as diamond” and the possible answers offered to your customers are “amethyst, ruby, alexandrite...”. Watch the following video to get familiar with Kickflip’s product builder.
Step 6: Add images
It's time to upload these beautiful images you've created within your answers.
You will want to understand how to set the size of your product preview (canvas size).
Watch this video if you want to learn how to display multiple views of your product.
Then you will want to use Kickflip to display images based on your customer’s choices.
You can also apply colors dynamically on your images, eliminating the need to create an image for each color you want to offer.
Step 7: Add a text question
This step is necessary for certain customizations, especially our necklace. You can add a question to give your customers the opportunity to write a personalized text. To ensure the engraving fits the product, you can also set a character limit.
Step 8: Add a logo
Incorporate your logo to your product.
Step 9: Add logic rules
Implement logic rules so customers can customize only valid product combinations.
Step 10: Edit your customizer theme
Final step! You can choose to customize the appearance of your customizer to match with your brand’s aesthetic. Head to the Theme Editor and modify anything, from fonts, spacing, colors and even more.
Step 11: Publish to your online store
Once you are satisfied with your customizer, connect it with your ecommerce platform if that’s not already done, publish your product and start making some sales!
We hope you enjoyed this guide! Building a product configurator may seem like a complex process, but with the right steps and tools, such as Kickflip, it’s entirely manageable! A well designed product configurator will enhance your customers satisfaction and elevate your brand. Customization is key in today’s market, and having a user-friendly product configurator is your ticket to soaring success!