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Visual Configuration

What is Visual Configuration?

In an age where personalization reigns supreme, visual configuration––an increasingly popular tool that empowers customers to design products with ease––is revolutionizing the way businesses engage with their buyers and deliver customized solutions.

From the comfort of their devices, buyers can configure products using an intuitive graphical interface, while manufacturers streamline production like clockwork. Not only does this enhance the customer experience, but it also reduces the likelihood of costly product returns, as buyers can visualize their creations prior to purchase.

Join us as we explore the world of visual configuration, unraveling its benefits, challenges, and opportunities. By the end of this article, you'll have a clear vision of whether this innovative solution is the right fit for your business and its increasingly demanding customers.

What is Visual Configuration?

Visual configuration is an innovative technology that lets users customize products through an intuitive graphical interface (visual product configurator). Rather than relying on a salesperson, customers can interact directly with a 2D or 3D model of their product, modifying colors, components, and materials, and viewing it in granular detail.

What’s Driving the Trend?

The rise of eCommerce has dramatically changed the B2B buying landscape, with 83% of B2B buyers now preferring to purchase online. This shift has created a new challenge for businesses: How to provide the customized products and personalized experiences buyers crave without the face-to-face interaction of traditional sales methods.

Visual configuration allows businesses to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world by providing a powerful, engaging, and intuitive way for customers to visualize and customize products online. By incorporating visual configuration across sales channels, companies can:

  • Enable customers to tailor products to their specific needs and preferences
  • Make the buying process more engaging and immersive
  • Help customers understand complex products

We’ll explore these benefits and more in the next section.

Benefits of Visual Configuration for Customers

Let’s take a closer look at how first-class visual configuration experiences benefit customers:


First and foremost, visual configuration empowers customers to create products that are uniquely theirs. By providing a wide range of customization options, businesses allow customers to express their individual needs and styles.

This ability to personalize goods profoundly affects the likelihood of a customer placing an order. Research suggests that 60% of customers are more likely to purchase a product if they can interact with it in 3D or augmented reality​​ (AR). Furthermore, implementing 3D product visualization can increase conversion rates by 40%​​ , according to Epicor CPQ data.

Superior ROI

By catering to the unique preferences and circumstances of each user, personalized products tend to offer superior performance, increased satisfaction, and extended longevity. As a result, investing in customized solutions frequently leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to purchasing generic, one-size-fits-all alternatives.

Boosting Client Satisfaction and Loyalty

Visual configuration puts the power in your B2B clients' hands. When clients feel that they have played an active role in designing their product, they develop a greater sense of ownership and attachment, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and advocacy.

Lower Stress

Seeing a true-to-life rendering of a configured product gives customers confidence in their purchase. They know exactly what they're getting, down to the smallest detail, which makes the whole transaction feel less anxiety-inducing.

Speed and Efficiency

With visual configuration, clients can independently explore and fine-tune product options without the usual back-and-forth with sales. They can customize products from anywhere on any device and immediately see how their choices impact the appearance, functionality, and price of the offering. This frees up time to focus on other business activities.

Mitigating Risk

Visual configuration provides a virtual testing ground where clients can explore different setups and see what works best. It reduces the risk of errors and miscommunications that can end in delayed lead times and buyer’s remorse.

Benefits for Suppliers and Manufacturers

Visual configuration isn’t only beneficial for customers. It provides significant benefits to sellers, too:

Increased Revenue

Businesses can attract and convert more customers by offering a more engaging and interactive buying experience. Additionally, visually configured products often command higher prices due to their personalized nature.

Reduced Costs

Visual configuration streamlines sales and manufacturing processes, reducing costs associated with errors, rework, and manual interventions. Customers' requirements are always accurately captured and communicated to production teams, minimizing the need for costly modifications and improving overall operational efficiency.

Greater TAM

Visual configuration allows businesses to expand their total addressable market (TAM) by appealing to a broader range of customers. By offering customizable products, companies can cater to diverse customer preferences and needs, attracting new customer segments that were previously untapped.

Millennial Buyers

Millennial buyers, who make up a significant portion of today's B2C and B2B buyers, are particularly drawn to self-serve customer journeys. Visual configuration aligns perfectly with their preferences, allowing them to configure complex products without the friction of real human interactions.

Speed to Market

Visual configuration accelerates the product development process, enabling businesses to bring new offerings to market faster. By automating the configuration process and reducing the need for manual interventions, companies can quickly respond to changing customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.

Competitive Differentiation

Offering visual configuration capabilities sets businesses apart from competitors relying on traditional product catalogs and limited customization options. By providing a superior customer experience and the ability to create truly unique products, companies can establish a solid competitive advantage.

Customer Insights

Visual configuration allows manufacturers to gather valuable data on customer preferences and behavior. Every interaction with the product configurator generates insights into which options are most popular, which configurations are most profitable, and which customer segments are most engaged.


Visual configuration powered by cloud solutions allows businesses to serve a nearly infinite number of customers without the need to hire additional personnel or strain resources.

Challenges of Visual Configuration

As the extensive list of benefits above illustrates, visual configuration provides a powerful means of boosting various KPIs, from customer satisfaction to revenue. Still, implementing visual configuration presents challenges.

From managing complex product data and ensuring real-time rendering to integrating with existing systems and providing a user-friendly interface, visual configuration requires careful planning and execution.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore the challenges you may encounter and the technology necessary to address them effectively.

Complex Product Structures and Rules

Visual product configurators run on complex product and pricing rules that determine how goods can be designed and sold. Without these rules, nothing stops users from configuring products that are too expensive to manufacture or poorly optimized for real-world performance.

Integration with Existing Systems

Visual configuration software is most effective when integrated with other core systems. Inadequate integration can result in inconsistencies, errors, and inefficient data transfer processes between systems.

Performance at Scale

As product catalogs grow and configuration options expand, some visual configuration systems can face performance issues. Rendering complex 3D models and processing large amounts of configuration data can strain system resources, leading to a poor user experience.

Real-Time Pricing and Quoting

Accurately calculating prices and generating quotes in real-time based on selected configuration options is a complex task. Visual configuration systems need to handle dynamic pricing rules, discounts, and dependencies to provide customers with instant and accurate pricing information.

How CPQ Makes Visual Configuration Accessible

Implementing Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software is the simplest way to leverage visual product configuration while avoiding common pitfalls.

Here's a quick recap of how CPQ works:

  • CPQ software provides a centralized system for managing product rules, simplifying the creation and maintenance of complex, configurable products. The Epicor CPQ low-code rules engine empowers non-technical users to add new options and modify logic without the need for extensive programming knowledge.

  • Advanced CPQ systems offer interactive, immersive product configurators that allow customers to see their custom products come to life in real-time. Epicor CPQ takes this a step further by providing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) configurators in addition to the standard 2D and 3D options.

  • CPQ streamlines the sales process by generating accurate prices, quotes, and proposals based on the configured product, ensuring a smooth transition from configuration to purchase. Epicor CPQ also generates essential documents such as CAD files and Bills of Materials (BOMs).

Now let’s see how these come together to deliver first-class visual configuration experiences:

Streamlined Product Configuration

CPQ platforms provide a centralized system for managing product data, rules, and constraints, streamlining the process of defining and maintaining complex product structures and configuration rules.

Intuitive rule builders like Snap from Epicor CPQ enable product experts to create and modify rules without extensive programming knowledge, reducing the burden on IT teams.

Seamless Integration

Advanced CPQ systems, like Epicor CPQ, offer out-of-the-box integrations with popular ERP, CRM, PLM, and eCommerce systems, ensuring seamless data exchange and synchronization between the live visual configuration platform and other business systems.

High-Performance Visualization

Cutting-edge CPQ solutions use advanced rendering technologies and optimization techniques to deliver high-performance visualization of complex 3D models.

They can handle large product catalogs and configuration options while maintaining fast loading times and smooth interactivity, ensuring the visual configuration system can grow with the business without compromising performance.

Dynamic Pricing and Quoting

CPQ integrates robust pricing and quoting features with visual configuration. It manages complex pricing rules, discounts, and dependencies, incorporating various internal factors (e.g., inventory levels) and external variables (e.g., competitor pricing) into its calculations.

CPQ also produces real-time quotes and proposals for customers, significantly reducing the sales team's workload and accelerating sales cycles.

Design Automation and Validation

Advanced CPQ systems include design automation capabilities that enforce rules and constraints during the visual configuration process.

Integration with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and PLM systems allows for the validation of configurations and generation of production-ready data, such as CAD files and BOMs, streamlining the handoff to manufacturing.

Guided Selling and Visualization

CPQ provides a guided selling approach to visual configuration. It leads customers through the configuration process step by step, playing the role of the human salesperson. Intelligent algorithms recommend options and configurations based on customer preferences and past sales data, while real-time rendering creates an immersive and informative experience.

Examples of Visual Configuration in Action

Visual configuration technology is used extensively across industries as diverse as building supplies and biotechnology. To make the concepts discussed above more tangible, let’s take a look at a couple of real-world examples:

Visual Configuration in Biotech: Repligen Repligen, a bioprocessing firm with revenue of around $640 million in 2023, implemented visual configuration to streamline the sales process of their complex fluid management systems. By transitioning from napkin sketches to 3D visualization, the company has empowered its salespeople to design products with greater speed and accuracy.

This shift has led to several key outcomes:

  1. The 3D configurator enables the rapid design of customized assemblies, reducing the process from weeks to minutes, thereby increasing sales efficiency.

  2. The visual configurator offers greater design flexibility, allowing Repligen to cater to specific customer requirements and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

  3. Both sales teams and customers benefit from immediate and accurate pricing updates, resulting in faster sales cycles compared to competitors.

Visual Configuration in Construction: Van Wijnen Van Wijnen, a prominent Dutch housing developer known for building sustainable houses, successfully navigated the challenges of growing demand for customization and rising construction costs by leveraging visual configuration. As a result, the company has transformed its workflow from a manual process to a fully automated engineer-to-order system.

This transformation has yielded several key outcomes.

  1. Implementing cutting-edge 3D graphics has enabled clients and sales representatives to explore millions of configuration options.

  2. The visual configuration system has facilitated file-to-factory automation, where chosen configurations are seamlessly transformed into production-ready data and sent directly to the factory, allowing production to commence immediately.

  3. By streamlining complex sales and design processes that once took months into just two hours, Van Wijnen has achieved a 50% reduction in overall lead times.

Wrapping Up

Visual configuration empowers buyers to create products that are uniquely tailored to their needs and preferences, while enabling sellers to streamline operations, reduce errors, and drive customer satisfaction.

Visual configuration is about harnessing the power of technology to bring your customer's vision to life. By combining intuitive interfaces, immersive visualization, and intelligent algorithms, visual configuration solutions like CPQ are redefining what's possible in product personalization.

The transition from mass production to mass customization is a paradigm shift in how products are designed, sold, and manufactured—a shift that puts the customer firmly in the driver's seat. To stay relevant, businesses need to adapt, and visual configuration technology is an ideal, accessible, and affordable gateway.

Visual Configuration FAQ

What is visual configuration software, and how does it benefit businesses?

Visual configuration software is a tool that allows customers to visually customize and configure products according to their preferences.

It provides a visual representation of the product, enabling customers to see their changes in real-time. This software helps businesses increase customer engagement, reduce errors, and streamline the sales process, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

How does the visual configuration software market differ from traditional CPQ software?

While traditional CPQ software focuses on managing product data, pricing, and quotes, the visual configuration software market takes it a step further by incorporating visual, interactive elements. Visual configuration software, such as visual CPQ, allows customers to see and interact with a 3D configurator, making the buying experience more engaging and personalized.

Can visual product configuration tools integrate with other business systems?

Yes, most visual product configuration tools offer integration capabilities with various business systems, such as CRM, ERP, and e-commerce platforms.

This integration allows for seamless data transfer and ensures that all personal information and product data remain consistent across different systems. This gives sales teams and reps access to up-to-date information so they can provide accurate customer quotes every time.

Is visual configuration software suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises?

Visual configuration software and 3D product configurators can benefit businesses of all sizes that sell configurable products. However, the specific features and scalability requirements may vary depending on the company's needs.

How does a visual product configurator enhance the customer experience?

A visual product configurator elevates the customer experience by providing an interactive and engaging way to explore and customize products.

By visualizing the product in real-time and seeing the impact of their choices, customers can make more informed decisions and feel more confident in their purchases. Increased engagement and satisfaction can lead to higher conversion rates and long-term customer loyalty.

Can visual configuration software be used for products other than physical goods?

Yes, visual configuration software can be applied to various industries beyond physical products. For example, it can configure and visualize software packages, insurance plans, or even service offerings.

The key is to provide a visual representation of the available options and allow customers to interact with and customize the offering based on their specific needs and preferences.

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