Product configurator software offers a unique and valuable resource for manufacturers looking to stay on the leading edge of digital design and production. It allows for the creation of accurate 3D models and digital prototypes and offers real-time 3D renderings to assist customers in decision-making.
In this guide, we’ll run through the benefits of using product configurator software. We’ll show how it works, the core features and use cases, and tips on choosing the right solution for your business.
With the right product configurator software in your arsenal, you’ll be able to streamline design processes while saving time and money. You’ll be able to stay ahead of the ever-changing demands of today’s market and thrash your competitors.
Let’s jump into the details.
What is Product Configurator Software (and Product Visualization)?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s kick things off with a straightforward definition.
Product configurator software is a tool that enables manufacturers to configure products for their customers. By inputting various product specifications and customer requirements, your salespeople and customers can generate a unique output that meets their specific needs.
Product configurators are particularly useful in industries where products are highly complex, such as biotech, building supplies, and modular buildings. But companies that make more straightforward products like fashion, furniture, and jewelry also derive massive value, especially when configurators have a strong visual component.
Visual product configurators enable users to configure products using an interactive visual interface. The interface displays products in 3D, and users drag and drop to design the product they want to learn about or buy. Engineering rules programmed into the configurator limit choices to manufacturable options, eliminating mistakes and suboptimal configurations. For more detail, see Epicor CPQ’s visual product configurator.
In a world where demand for personalized products and experiences is sky-high, this ability to offer mass customization is a huge win for buyers. For manufacturers, it drives loyalty and satisfaction and distinguishes them from competitors.
The Benefits of Using Product Configurator Software
Manufacturers that use product configurator software enjoy a smorgasbord of benefits. Their configurators provide a central repository for product data and configurations, making it easier to create custom products quickly and easily.
With a robust product configuration platform, manufacturers can adjust their designs as new trends emerge to stay competitive. They can offer thousands of personalized products and tailor options to every customer’s needs.
Here are some of the key benefits:
The Configuration Process is Accurate and Consistent
Product configurator software ensures that products ordered are configured correctly, reducing the risk of errors or miscommunication. When products are complex and many components need to be assembled, having a solution that guarantees accuracy is a must.
The Customer Experience is Immersive and Engaging
Product configurators can make it easier for customers to create custom products and visualize the end result, leading to a more enjoyable and streamlined purchasing process. Epicor CPQ’s product configurator displays products in interactive 3D as standard. But it also provides tools such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) simulations.
With 3D, AR, and VR, buyers gain a hyper-realistic view of their products before they’re manufactured. Best of all, if manufacturers embed this functionality into their websites (which is easy with Epicor CPQ), customers can access this immersive experience remotely.
The Sales Process is Efficient and Productive
Configuring products manually is incredibly time-consuming. Product configurators can automate many tasks in creating custom products, freeing up time for other jobs and reducing the workload of sales and customer service staff.
Revenue and Win Rate Improve
Product configurators drive sales by making it easier for customers to create and purchase custom products. They also provide upsell and cross-sell recommendations along the way. Visual product configurators remove the guesswork from the sales process, thereby increasing buyer confidence and boosting win rates. Unsurprisingly, manufacturers that embed a visual product configurator into their website see a significant uptick in conversion rates. Epicor CPQ customers experience a 40% increase on average. (This is huge.)
Forecasting and Inventory Management Is Easier
Product configurator software stores data from every customer interaction. Businesses can analyze this data to drive efficiency and continuously improve core processes. They can track and forecast demand by observing which products and components customers select and buy and reduce excess inventory by meeting demand without carrying extra stock.
How to use product configurator software
With the right software, manufacturers can quickly create accurate 3D models of their products, view prices and download quotes, and share configurations with others. Here’s how to use Epicor CPQ’s product configurator software to get the most out of it:
Step 1. Configure Products: The user configures products by selecting different components, materials, and finishes. The configurator validates and optimizes the configuration for manufacturability and margin. This can be a text-based or visual experience.
Step 2. View Prices: The product configurator software calculates the total cost of the configuration in real-time as users make changes. This makes it easy to compare different designs and find the best value for money for the user’s needs.
- Download Quotes: Once the user is satisfied with the configuration, they can download a quote that includes all relevant information about the product’s pricing, delivery time, and other details.
- Share Configurations: Buyers can share configurations and quotes with colleagues or external partners. If they’re not ready to place an order right away, they can save their work in progress and return to it at a more convenient time. If the customer doesn’t return, salespeople can leverage this incomplete configuration information to reach out by phone or email and have another try at securing a sale.
- Generate Advanced Documents: Product configurator software can generate CAD files, CNC cut sheets, BOMs, and other files, streamlining the end-to-end engineer-to-order process and relieving a tremendous amount of pressure on the engineering department.
Tips on choosing a product configurator
Remember, when shopping around for a product configurator, you’re not only buying software for today. You’re sourcing a solution that will future-proof your business for tomorrow and scale effortlessly as you grow. With this in mind, here are some particular features you should look out for (some we’ve covered, some we haven’t).
3D/VR/AR product rendering:
Want to provide a powerful visual experience, convey complex product information effectively, build brand value, and stand out from competitors? Of course, you do! That’s why you should implement a solution that features the latest visual technology.
Compatibility with existing software
Your product configurator should integrate effortlessly with your existing business software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Integration helps streamline processes and keep your data organized.
It’s essential to choose a product configurator that customers can use without needing assistance from you or other staff members. Look for features like self-guided navigation, tutorials, and an intuitive interface that make it easier for customers to configure products independently.
Embeddable into your website
Can you embed the configurator into an eCommerce website? This is a must. The modern buyer wants to avoid contacting sales, placing orders, and getting information online, not in person.
Finally, look for a configurator that can create the broadest range of files and documents. From CAD files to CNC cut sheets, additive manufacturing files, and assembly guides, this will save your engineering and manufacturing teams hours daily.
Product configurator software is a game-changer for manufacturers. It enables them to offer their customers mass customization and streamlines their design and production processes. It enhances the accuracy of the configuration process and the transparency and enjoyment of the customer experience, all of which boosts the company’s bottom line.
If you want the most out of product configurator software, consider a solution with 3D, AR, and VR capabilities. Make sure it’s easy to use for customers and salespeople and that you can embed it into your website, making it accessible to a global audience at any time.