Products and services individually adapted to one's own needs and requirements – an ideal solution for many customers in B2B and B2C. Individualisation, i.e. the free choice of product variants, is currently more in demand than ever on the customer side. But applications that offer customers different choices are also lucrative for companies.
In this case, digital product configurators can help to achieve a clearer understanding of products and their functions. Especially in the end-customer sector, they are often used to provide customers with product suggestions that match their search. But the visual or functional customizability of products is also a frequent case in B2B and B2C.
Different models for different industries
Depending on how much the degree of customisation varies, how large or complex products are, different choices are difficult to represent by purely visual mapping in the configurator. Especially in B2B, more flexibility is needed in sales appointments or consultation meetings in this case.
Interactive 3D configurators provide a clear picture in this respect. Products are built in 3D for this purpose and can be viewed and adjusted on the screen from all sides. A look inside a machine or testing of functions is also possible with a 3D product rendering.
Immersive product configurators go one step further, visualising and placing products in augmented reality and in their original size at any desired location. By tapping on the screen, users experience all functions, receive information and details about the product or change its appearance in real time.
Website, app or webAR: mobile solutions for every device
Product configurators in the end consumer sector are usually software solutions that are integrated into a website or online shop. An example of this is digital advice aids that support customers in their search for the right product. Articles are provided with various features that the customer selects in the configurator in order to finally find the product with the right characteristics.
Interactive 3D and immersive AR configurators, on the other hand, are developed in the form of an application or browser-based. Immersive experiences can be created as WebARs, for example, so that customers can access the experience via a link. The configurators are thus not linked to a company website or a shop, but can be accessed independently.
Real-time 3D renderings allow to demonstrate the different functions and variants live and to illustrate them in a high quality. Users determine various features that their ideal product should have. The selection of these features can be based on rules predefined by the company, so that some features of a product can only be combined with certain other features. In this way, individual product variants are put together according to the customer's wishes.
Configuration experience with and without consultation
For B2B sales, there is hardly a more effective tool than a product configurator that enables live customisations. There are typically two ways to use them. On the one hand, they can be called up by the customer himself and operated without employees. This is usually the case before a purchase decision, for example to get to know the product first and to find out whether it can generally be a solution for one's own ideas.
Probably the most effective type of application, however, is the use in the virtual or analogue presence of an advisor, for example in the context of a sales presentation or in a digital or real showroom. Advisors and customers share the same immersive experience or the 3D configurator during the presentation to introduce the product and clarify questions or to jointly create the final product after a decision has been made.
Presenting complex machines in sales conversations
Presenting large machines in a comprehensible way during sales meetings and adapting them functionally was also the wish of the American company Nordson. For the ideal sales supplement, a web-based product configurator was created for the manufacturer of precision equipment, which sales staff use in real or digital peer-to-peer discussions with customers.
Since the application works on any mobile device, it is not location-bound and can be used worldwide. Employees and customers share the same view of the object in augmented reality. The products are put together live on the basis of concrete requirements expressed by the respective customer during the consultation. After the consultation, the customer receives a summary document to facilitate the decision-making process.
Upkeep and management: Updating the variant configurator
The rules under which a variant configurator functions must of course be defined by companies, and data must be maintained and updated. Specially designed platforms for data management and content editing facilitate this process.
One example of such a platform is our flexible CMS platform VARYCON, which solves the updating and editing of a product configurator via intuitive front-end structures.
Support in the decision-making process
Regardless of how a product configurator is used in the company, with or without augmented reality or the expertise of a consultant: both sides of the process benefit from it. The solution helps customers to make decisions more quickly and to better understand the product. Companies learn through targeted targeting of the application which functions or which optics are preferred by customers.
At the same time, a visualisation in 3D reduces the display space that product variants would take up in a showroom. In a virtualized showroom, an AR product configurator is an ideal digital sales supplement.