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What is a product configurator?
29. Jan. 2019

Knowledge Bits: What is a Product Configurator?

Product configurators are software applications for designing products that are precisely tailored to the individual needs of customers.

A product configurator enables customers to choose product features, product options, and technically feasible combinations online, making it an effective tool for the interaction of companies and their customers.
Combeenation Co-Founder Paul Blazek explains Configurator basics.
Sophisticated product configurators are used as a key technology in many areas. For Mass Customization, they are the link between customer-specific production and mass production: the customization of a product by the customer is only possible with a configurator. Combeenation combines maximum flexibility in implementation and seamless integration into existing ERP systems.

And what exactly should a configurator be able to do?

It is crucial for companies to understand that the time-consuming “creation” of the product is outsourced to the customer with the use of a configurator. But what does that mean in practice? What happens if the customer is overwhelmed with compiling product functionalities? Sometimes it just is too complex to assemble an individual product from the ground up. There are a number of criteria to consider when designing a configurator. Most important: don’t confuse customers in the configuration process. And more: Configurators should motivate, convey fun and encourage the customer to buy a product. An optimally implemented configuration process generates a lasting brand experience for customers. In the age of individualization, configurators are more than just a technical feature, they become an indispensable interface to the end customer.

Why are there so many different names for one and the same tool?

Although the word “configurator” is more and more widespread for this tool there are a number of other expressions, like Mitch Tseng and Frank Piller, two leading academic experts pointed out in their book “The Customer Centric Enterprise-Advances in Mass Customization and Personalization” when looking at the core role and function of configurators: “Known as configurators, choice boards, design systems, toolkits, or co-design platforms, these systems are responsible for guiding the user through the configuration process. Different variations are represented, visualized, assessed and priced which starts a learning-by-doing process for the user. While the term “configurator” or “configuration system” is quoted rather often in literature, it is used for the most part in a technical sense addressing a software tool. The success of such an interaction system is, however, by no means not only defined by its technological capabilities, but also by its integration in the whole sale environment, its ability to allow for learning by doing, to provide experience and process satisfaction, and its integration into the brand concept.” Exactly this overall flexibility and integration possibilities drive the success of Combeenation in the market.

I need a configurator. Now what?

Tell us what you are planning, we will implement it together with you.