Making a choice is not always simple, especially when it concerns the growth of your business. If you’re a retail entrepreneur and want to maximize the value of your products or services by enhancing them through digital tools like e-commerce or product configurators, this is the article for you!
Indeed, in the digital age we live in, online commerce and product customization have reached new heights. The two main approaches that have emerged in the world of digital retail are traditional e-commerce and the use of product configurators. Both offer distinct advantages, but the choice between them depends on crucial variables and the nature of the products offered. Let’s discover together the solution that suits your needs best.
Online sales platforms and scalable e-commerce with a wide range of products and services
E-commerce platforms are well-known online sales platforms. Customers already prepared for online purchases browse through catalogs and add products to their cart, proceeding to the purchase phase. Because they are familiar online sales platforms, e-commerce must have specific characteristics to be performing. We must consider two macro categories of characteristics:
Product or service characteristics of your online business
- The product or service must be directly aimed at the end consumer without intermediaries (agents, agencies, or retailers). This doesn’t mean that a company operating through multiple sales channels, in addition to the online one, cannot use e-commerce as a digital catalog for their sales force.
- The products or services sold can be severals but with a low level of customization and product complexity because the primary goal of an e-commerce is scalability, speed and punctuality in delivery that are essential to customers.
Design and navigability characteristics of the site
- The site should be perfectly functional and well displayed on mobile devices or tablets, adapting to screen sizes.
- A clean and well-organized design facilitates reading and site navigation.
- The site’s architecture should be intuitive, with clear and easy-to-understand menus. Use categories and subcategories to organize products.
- Maintain a consistent structure on product pages, with images, descriptions, prices, and CTA buttons positioned similarly on each page.
- Ensure that the cart is always visible and accessible so users can easily monitor the products they are purchasing.
Product configurators: tailored customization
When dealing with higher product complexity, as in the manufacturing or modular product industry, product configurators emerge as the ideal solution.
These tools allow clients to customize products according to their specific needs. A configurator guides users through a series of choices, such as dimensions, materials, colors, and special features, until they obtain a unique and tailored product.
The product configurator increases your digital revenue by digitizing your sales cycle and automating various unnecessary and repetitive operations that slow down your company’s productivity. In economic and operational terms, implementing product configurators can yield tangible results for the company and its entire sales network. Let’s discover the benefits together.
Benefits for the company: focused approach on increasing economic results and reducing errors and time management
- Process automation: automate the process of customizing and configuring products, eliminating the need for manual communication and quote requests. Automation reduces processing times and simplifies the process, accelerating the path from interest to purchase.
- Sales increase: the customization capability of product configurators can increase conversion probabilities as customers find the product perfectly tailored to their needs.
- Differentiation: by offering unique and personalized configurations, the company stands out from the competition and creates a competitive advantage.
- Increased average order value: customers who customize products tend to add extra features or additional options. This leads to an increase in the average order value, contributing to overall company revenue growth.
- Error reduction: thanks to the guidance provided by the configurator, the likelihood of errors in option selection is reduced. This implies lower risks of returns or complaints due to incorrect products.
Benefits for the sales network: precision and speed to act effectively in the commercial field
- Simplification of the sales process: Provide sales agents with a powerful tool to show customers available options and customize products in real time. This greatly simplifies the sales process and facilitates communication with customers.
- Increased productivity: Sales agents can use configurators to create accurate quotes in a matter of minutes, reducing the time required for manual quotes preparation. This allows them to focus on other sales activities.
- Greater customer engagement: Involving customers in the customization experience can lead to deeper and more meaningful interactions. Agents can work together with customers to identify the best solutions and meet their needs.
- Increased trust: Customers appreciate transparency and accuracy in the sales process. By using a product configurator, agents demonstrate professionalism and competence in understanding customer needs.
Discriminating variables to choose the proper digitalization for your online business
- Product complexity: highly customizable and complex products tend to succeed with configurators, as traditional e-commerce may not be able to handle all available options.
- User experience: navigational experience is crucial. E-commerce offers simpler and more immediate navigation, while configurators require more interaction but offer deeper customization.
- Required level of customization: if customers desire specific customization details, such as in the case of tailor-made products, a configurator is the better choice.
- Customer involvement: configurators engage customers in a creative process, which can lead to deeper customer involvement and loyalty.
- Offer management: configurators are ideal for companies with a wide range of product options, but they require more precise management compared to an e-commerce catalog.
- Business processes: as mentioned in your experience, when multiple parties are involved, such as agents and third-party resellers, configurators can provide a centralized platform to coordinate such complex processes.
The choice: a matter of expertise
The choice between e-commerce and product configurators, as argued in the article, depends on several practical variables and is not always an immediate decision. Indeed, there are strategic-economic conditions that are not always taken into consideration because the present is evaluated rather than the near future. To assess cost/efficiency with an overall view of growth, consulting experts is necessary. They can guide you in choosing the option that best suits your needs.
“People don’t buy products and services, they buy relationships, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin
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