Mass customization is here to stay. Consumers are increasingly demanding a product that can be configured for their individual tastes and desires. You can even customize your ketchup bottle! (http://www.myheinz.com/gallery.aspx). This has created both opportunity and challenges for manufacturers.
As a manufacturer of customizable products, you are in a great position to appeal to today’s consumers. But how do you show the breadth and depth of your offering without confusing them? How do you empower them to create their perfect product without overwhelming them with too many choices? How do you best support their desire to educate themselves? How do you keep sales cost under control?
Customers begin nearly every major purchase decision online. They do their own up-front research–exploring alternatives, learning about different vendors, reading reviews, and choosing the product that best meets their requirements.
Manufacturers of configurable products have unique challenges in serving their online customers well. Although the customer has a sense of the basic configuration, how do they get a complete picture of the product? What color looks best? How do the accessories change the appearance? What will the final product look like? What is the final cost? How can they be sure that they’re ordering the right one?
Fundamentally, you need to empower your customers to educate themselves about your offerings, easily explore configuration options, and select the configuration that best matches their needs. Integrating 3D visualization and configuration software into your website can help your customer achieve these goals, in a fun and engaging way.
A prospective customer engaging with 3D visualization and configuration capabilities can choose colors, finishes, options, and accessories. They can compare how two different configurations look. They can see the product from all sides, in a realistic 3D representation. And they can see how their choices impact the final price.
They do this “purchase-decision pre-work” on their own time, in the comfort of their own home, at their own pace. And as they do this, they become more invested in your product, your company, and your brand. Your product becomes their product–tailored to their precise needs and wants.
When the customer does engage with you, they are closer to making a purchase decision. They are more qualified and committed. They are confident in their purchase because they’ve seen exactly what they’re purchasing. They see the colors and accessories. They see an estimated price. They see the product from all sides and perspectives. Customers lacking this confidence will move on to the next website, likely a competitor.
IdeaRoom not only creates a more engaged and confident customer but also improves your sales productivity. Your salespeople start with better-qualified leads. Your customers already know what they want and that it fits within their budget. You spend less time describing basic choices, providing quotes, and iterating on options. Time with customers is better spent, as you focus on the finer points that differentiate your product from others. Conversion rates will naturally increase.
These benefits continue throughout the rest of the organization. When the sales order is completed, the detailed information about the configuration–including images of the completed assembly–can be provided immediately to manufacturing to ensure the proper configuration is built.
Ultimately, IdeaRoom Technology is helping manufacturers create more intimate relationships with their customers by engaging them directly in configuring their ideal product and then giving them the confidence that they will receive exactly what they designed.