All of us have probably played around with a visual configurator at some point, for example to discover what your dream car could look like. Choosing a color scheme, interior, rims: everything is directly visible on your screen. Unfortunately the price also rises along, but that aside. Years ago, the visual configurator made its entrance in the B2B world, and successfully at that. More and more businesses see its advantages, and your product or machine, too, is more easily sold in an attractive visual form. In this blog we concisely describe what a visual configurator is, and more importantly: what its advantages for your business could be.
A visual configurator is software that, based on a user’s input, displays what an end product will look like in either 2D or 3D. You use an interactive interface to give the customer a number of choices of which you will immediately see the result. In the case of cars you would, for instance, work with color schemes and rims. Whereas in B2B you would work with things such as configuring packaging machines or spiral transport tyres.
In that case it is not just about changing colors, but more about selecting relevant options. In combination with asking the right questions, a process we call guided selling, you show the customer the way towards optimally filling in their needs. An important thing to note is that the underlying software records the logic, and does not pan out every possible configuration. More about that later.
Are you still working with an expansive Excel file or PDF where every possible option and composition is established? Then working with a visual configurator will hand you a number of massive advantages. We will demonstrate a couple of them.
And should you still be using a personally designed Excel Configurator: here are ten reasons to never look back.
When speaking about the color of a car’s interior, anyone can talk along. Yet, in a technical environment this becomes much more difficult and often ends up in confusion between customers, salespeople, and engineers. With a visual configurator these three groups work from the same basis: a 2D- or 3D model.
The customer knows exactly what they’re buying, and immediately gets a ‘feeling’ about this product. They feel more understood, and will be more inclined to purchase. We have seen conversion rises of over 40% after employing a visual configurator.
Even the most complex products are easy to configure with a visual configurator. Thanks to a user friendly interface customers and salespeople are able to quickly find the ideal composition. For one of our customers, we have been able to reduce the number of questions a customer had to answer from 200 to 20. As you can guess, this staggering reduction is mostly courtesy of the visual configurator.
Many customers easily get along with a visual configurator. In an accessible way, they can get an idea of its possibilities in advance, all from home or the office. As such, they take steps for you in your sales process, where in the past they would have to talk to and be assisted by Sales. Your sales team is able to focus on the most promising customers, and your visual configurator hauls in leads.
A customer is never going to answer 200 questions on your website to compose a configuration. When supported by a good visual configurator however, they will gladly answer 20 questions. In turn, this can be a good base for a quotation request, as the customer has practically already selected you. From that point, your salespeople take over again. Additionally, further in the process the visual configurator can be used to demonstrate what the customer will be purchasing. Even after already having signed a contract, it can be nice for a customer to see a 3D-visualization of the product in advance.
The salesperson works with their list, the engineer with a complex 3D-model. Handover between these two parties often leads to much ado. When using a visual configurator, your engineers get exactly what they need. No endless back-and-forth between sales and engineering, but a streamlined process. The sales model is already validated by engineers, in advance. Simply said, this means your salespeople cannot ever sell anything that cannot be built, which is pleasant for both parties.
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1995, are present in more and more businesses where they get to make decisions. This generation is known for wanting to do online research when buying products, also when it concerns B2B. Additionally, they experienced the rise of digital technology firsthand. A visual configurator responds to both of these factors, and as a result can be an important step into making your business future-proof. And also not unimportant: people always look at images first, and text after. Their attention is immediately pulled to your product, in contrary to when you work with crammed Excel sheets.
If you know us a little, you’ll know that we are big fans of visual configurators. But we have to remain honest and also indicate the disadvantages. A visual configurator is a larger investment than the Excel file you might be working with now. Thanks to the advantages named above you will very quickly break even with that investment. Additionally, it is also a portion of professionalization for your business.
Another disadvantage could be that a visual configurator has to be maintained. But that also applies to the Excel-sheet. And should you choose software that does not record all possible compositions, but the logic between different options, then maintenance is not that big of a deal at all. Should something change in your sales model, then you would only have to change that specific line. The software then ensures that everything is processed correctly in all possible configurations. Now that’s something else than continuously and manually editing that dreaded Excel file.
In the end, we think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Do you recognize problems in your traditional sales method? Then a visual configurator could be an interesting option for you.