Create configurators yourself

5 tips: creating configurators

In recent years, the interest in product configurators has increased rapidly. No wonder, because with concepts like "build to order", "assemble to order", "configure to order", "make to order" or "engineer to order", the success of the entire project stands and falls with the customer touchpoints.  One of the most important touchpoints for digital sales is their 3D configurator. Anyone who thinks in a customer-oriented and sales-oriented way will certainly already have dealt with the advantages of configurators. But what do you have to consider when you want to create a configurator? We have analyzed frequently recurring challenges and requirements. From our point of view, there are 5 decisive, cross-industry success factors when creating a product configurator.


Tip 1: Define your target group using personas

Before you start with the process and usability concept for the configurator, you need as much information as possible about your customers. One helpful approach is to create personas. You describe as many rep-resentative customers as possible and define age, gender, professional background, job position, tech-nical equipment and buying habits, etc.! For each of these personas, you then sketch out a customer jour-ney with the corresponding requirements for the product configurator or the entire purchasing process un-der the premise of having an optimal customer experience. The result of this exercise is a user-oriented requirements catalog for the entire project. Creating personas and customer journeys has become the be-all and end-all of all web and branding pro-jects. There may already be descriptions somewhere in your company that you can adapt. If not, marketing and sales will be happy when someone finally does it.

5 tips: creating configurators

Tip 2: Start your configurator project slim and stay flexible after the launch

In all digital projects, the configurator is the main point of contact for customers. For this reason, a lot of time is often spent in the concept phase to accommodate all possible configuration options. However, we recommend starting slim. This saves resources right from the start. Based on the user data (which should be provided by your configurator solution), the product configurator can be optimized over time and contin-uously adapted to the wishes of the users and supplemented with new functions. Always keep in mind the danger of an overload of information, do not overwhelm your customers, and approach carefully to an optimum.

What we have also observed during long concept phases: already implemented, finished programmed features of the configurator are kept although they were not accepted by the customers or not used at all. Why? Project managers often find it difficult to correct misconceptions.


Tip 3: If you are not sure about strategic issues, just try rapid prototyping

During the concept phase of your configurator project, it may not be clear which pricing strategy, design or process navigation is best. However, this should not prevent the launch of the configurator. Rapid prototyp-ing, i.e. the creation of a prototype (your configurator solution should also make this possible), allows you to test the various approaches quickly and make appropriate corrections. Rapid prototyping also provides valuable insights into usability and gaming elements.

In A/B tests, you can analyze the behavior of test subjects using a prototype and in this way find out relatively quickly which variation is preferred. The results are objective and, provided the number of tests is sufficiently large, offer a high degree of statistical certainty. The prototypes do not have to be defined 

5 tips: creating configurators

Tip 4: Do not overestimate your brand and/or product

Whether or not your company or brand is established or well-known, make customers aware of the benefits of product customization. Don't expect anyone to use your configurator or buy a single product just because you offer it. 
When starting a configurator project, it is important to develop a sustainable marketing strategy that is adapted to the target group. Appoint responsible persons and secure an advertising budget and the com-mitment of the management to promote the configurator.

The danger of overestimating one's own brand is greater the better known the company is. Configurator projects often fail only because the new, extended target group could not be activated. Also make sure that the configurator does not end up in the lowest level of their website. It sounds banal, but what customers don't see, they won't use.

5 tips: creating configurators

Tip 5: Keep an eye on user data and stay curious

Even if you have a configurator successfully in use, the market can change very quickly and create different or new requirements. Continuous analysis of user data and traffic helps to interpret irregularities and an-ticipate new customer demands. Not only the company's own statistics are relevant here; monitoring com-petitors and benchmark companies also provides insights into market trends and differentiation opportuni-ties.


How do you as a project manager create the right conditions for your project?

The practical tips presented here are easy to follow, but they assume two things. First, stay flexible throughout the project. Your configurator will not be what you thought it would be at the beginning of the project. Secondly, look for a configurator solution that gives you enough leeway and permits necessary changes, adjustments and optimizations quickly and easily during the project (and after the project has ended). And above all, don't forget one thing: A configurator that rocks has to be fun! 


You want a configurator and need professional help?

Nothing could be easier. Combeenation has been doing nothing but 3D configurators for a wide variety of industries and products for over 14 years. Get in touch with us - we are looking forward to it!



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