Product Configurators: Personalization of the Future

Today, consumers have increasingly diverse needs. From 2015 to 2018, interest in buying customized products increased by 2.4 times. The consumers have spoken and they want custom products. Customization is the future and is now a necessity. 

4 Main Approaches to Customization

When looking at how to customize products, there are four approaches—adaptive, transparent, cosmetic, and collaborative. The four approaches range from low customization to high customization. Starting low, adaptive has the products standardized and designed to accommodate many uses. Both the function and appearances are standardized and there is no customer input. Transparent means the manufacturer adjusts the product based on customer data. Only the function is customized and there is no customer input. Next is cosmetic. This is when customer choices are restricted to final stages of manufacturing. The appearance is customized while the function is standardized. Finally, collaborative is the most customizable. Both the function and the appearance is customized, with the consumer input is high. 

Despite the desire for customization, though, 42 percent of consumers want the brand to decide what options are available to them. What consumers want are configurable products. Configurable products take the benefits of standardization (low cost, high scalability) and customization (customers get exactly what they ask for) and combine them into one product. Configured products are cost-effective and mass produced, yet are still customizable. 

Product Configurator: Giving Customers What They Want

To have configured products, you need a product configurator. Product configurators are powered by rules in order to help build products consumers want. They have a database that includes features and functions of each part (environmental exposure, usable lifespan, and maximum load) and how products work together within assemblies (physical measurements, fastener options, wire sizes and colors). Product configurators need these rules in order to prevent mistakes and make sure everything works as intended. The configurable parameters are energy source, materials and finishes, product size, bore/stroke, output power, duty cycle, and RPM. 

Product configurators are good for business; they make customization scalable. Offering custom products improves engagement, increases brand loyalty, grows profits and revenues, widens the customer base, and reduces rework and returns. In fact, companies that invest in customization are more likely to meet product targets (such as revenue, quality, cost, and launch date). But you need to find the right configurator for your business. Some features to look for are: 360 visualization, real-time pricing, customer experience, and data available early on. 

While product configurators are important, they vary in complexity for different applications. You need to find one that works for your business. One product configurator to consider is CADENAS’ eCATALOGsolutions. eCATALOGsolutions is a rules based product configurator that has infinite configurability within rules-bases parameters. It also offers 360 degrees visualization and exceptional customer experience. The configurator works for products, components, and assemblies. The data is instantly available for every product configuration, and this includes: downloadable CAD and BIM models, PDF data sheets on each product, tiered pricing based on fixed data, and unique part numbers for easy repeat purchases. CADENAS’ eCATALOGsolutions is ideal for industical, architectural, and electronic components.

An infographic detailing how a product configurator can enable scalable customization.