Have you ever been in a store and found the perfect garment, appliance, or sofa, only to wonder “what would it look like in beige or grey? Or maybe if it had a different texture?” While an imagination exercise or asking the store manager for that particular color can help, it’s not the same as configuring your products and seeing for yourself all the details that you need.
The kind of leverage technology has brought into our lives is tremendous. And one of such levers is the possibility to allow your customers to design their own ideas into the real products they buy from you, also known as product configuration.
This sounds almost too good to be true, but it’s been successfully used to different extents by businesses in industries like fashion, jewelry, and home décor. And now it looks like it’s here to stay.
What Is Product Configuration?
Product configuration is a (mostly) online feature that helps customers get a more realistic idea of what they want to buy. Technically speaking, it’s a feature on your website where potential clients can customize, mix, and match various elements, to create an accurate mock-up of what they’re going to getbefore investing actual money or more time.
Let’s say you sell an extensive range of kitchen appliances and furniture. A product configuration option will allow your website visitors not only to browse through default pictures with different features of the same productbut to create their own product choosing from all the features that you have available.
A more elaborate product configuration solution can even help them design their entire kitchen. This way, they can get a faithful image of what their kitchen will look like, withoutactually buying and installing all the appliances and furniture. Not only does that take a lot of pressure off their shoulders, but it will also help them adjust their plans as they go, saving them both time and money.
How Important Is Product Configuration?
In 2021, these features can be a make-or-break kind of deal, especially considering that now more than ever, our shopping experience happens online. And as convenient as that is, there are some major downsides to online shopping, such as not being able to see the real scale of the products, the actual colors, or feel the fabric and texture.
And this makes customers weigh in more before actually investing money into a product, whether we’re talking about expensive items such as ski equipment or furniture, or something as inexpensive as ordering a cake for a special event.
But here enters product configuration. While it cannot replace the advantages of walk-in stores, its features bring some new advantages that will cast away doubts from your customers’ minds. And earning their trust is the first step towards a win-win sale.
However, product customization is not a new trend in the market. It’s been around for a couple of years already, but how many businesses have truly harnessed its powers? There’s still room for improvement in many industries and niches, and most likely the product configuration features will become the norm in the next couple of years. But before that happens, the vast majority of businesses are still relying on the old preset photo browsing method.
What Are the Advantages of Product Configuration Features?
Probably the most important advantage is that the customer has considerably more control over the customization of the products. The interactive process will help them gain clarity and will speed up their decision-making process, all in your favor.
According to Dan from product customization specialists Doogma “A second benefit is a fun-loaded experience. The thrill of a customer seeing his ideas turn into reality without having to buy the actual product – which sometimes may be very expensive – is a dopamine boost.” Moreover, the possibility to change the colors, the fabrics, or the place of the items in the product configuration window will lead to a more realistic rendering of their desired result, which again translates to a higher disposition towards buying from you.
Last, but not least, having product configuration features on your website is like a magnet to both existing customers and prospects alike. This means that more people will stop by your website and that they will spend, on average, more time on your website. And considering the countless ways you can monetize website traffic, this can be a considerable income source for your website and business.
Product Configuration From A to Z
No matter what type of products you sell, product configuration can be a great addition to your website. Even if you think there are little to no features that can be rearranged, your customers have already thought of at least five to ten characteristics they’d like to change to your products.
If you’re thinking of adding this feature to your website, the first thing you can do is come up with a list of all the products that you sell and the characteristics that can be customized for each of them. And if you have a hard time finding your answers, don’t hesitate to ask your customers for help.
As a matter of fact, the more your customers get involved, the more likely you are to create a service that will address their specific needs. This way, you can ensure that your product configuration system sounds good both on paper and on your website.
Then, depending on your business’ profile, niche, and industry, you can opt for a more elaborate or a more basic product customization system. Let’s take a high-end bottled wine company as an example. In this case, you can work with customizing the label (within brand specifications and without losing the core elements), the color of the linings on the label and/or cork, the material from which the cork is made, and other similar features that would not negatively impact the quality of the product, nor your brand.
And that is only an example. There are many ways in which you can turn this amazing technological feature into a magnet for your business. If you’re ready to take your customer experience to the next level, product configuration is a must, today more than tomorrow.