Customization Is the Future
Customization has always been a luxury, but now it’s a necessity. Americans want custom products more than ever. On average, 71% of consumers express some level of frustration when their shopping experience is impersonal. From 2015 to 2018, interest in buying customized products grew by 2.4 times. The digital revolution brought more and more new tech, and today’s consumers have increasingly diverse needs. Product configurators are helping companies create personalized experiences at scale.
There are four approaches to customization, ranging from low customization to high customization...
- Adaptive customization is a standardized product designed to accommodate many uses. Philips light bulbs are an example of this; consumers can adjust color and brightness, change how lights are controlled, and program schedules and commands, but customers give no input.
- The transparent approach is when the manufacturer adjusts the product based on a customer's idea. The company, function of beauty, has customized functions; their products are uniquely formulated for each customer, but packaging remains the same.
- Cosmetic customization is on the higher end of customization and gives the customer choices restricted to the final stages of manufacturing. Nike By You allows customers to select a standard style and size of a shoe and customize it with their combination of colors and finishes.
- Collaborative customization creates a truly unique product based on customer preferences. The Sheffer cylinder configurator allows customers to design a cylinder on their own or with the help of an engineer, to get the perfect cylinder for their application.
Not all customization is good customization. Standard products are beneficial because they are low cost, high scalability, and low energy, but if the product doesn't work, there are no other options. A unique, one-of-a-kind product allows the customer to get exactly what they ask for, but it is high cost, low scalability, and high effort. Configured products are cost-effective and mass-produce customization, combining the benefits of customization and standardization. Customers get exactly what they need, products are readily available, and are accessible to large and small businesses. Other benefits are lower cost, high scalability, and low effort.
A product configurator is powered by rules in place to prevent misconfigurations that won’t work as intended. Configurable parameters are product size, bore/stroke, energy source, materials and finishes, and outpower, duty cycle, and RPM. A product configurator is built on a product database that includes data that asks what are the features and functions of each part, which looks at maximum load, environmental exposure, and usable lifespan, and how products work together within assemblies.
Product configuration is good for your business
Offering configurable, custom products improves engagement, increases brand loyalty, grows profits and revenues, widens the customer base, and reduces rework and returns. Companies that invest in customization are more likely to meet product targets. Customization efforts meet revenue targets 72% of the time, compared to 64% with no customization efforts.
When finding the right configurator for your business, look for these key features. 360-degree visualization shows what the product will look like from every angle, minimizing mistakes and misunderstandings, saving time, and simplifying the customer experience. Real-time pricing updates the unit price for every alteration of the product, informing the customer’s purchasing decisions, and allowing them to easily weigh the costs and benefits of different features. Customer experience delivers data instantly with on-demand access and makes product information easily accessible in many formats. Data available early on helps customers find your parts by providing data when they need it.
The perfect solution for finding the right configurator for your business is product configurators. They vary in complexity for different applications, finding what works best for your business. Productimize is designed for retail products, and CPQ is designed for heavy machinery and complex products. Product configurators are designed for mechanical components, electrical components, and architectural products.
These ideas are illustrated further below...
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