The individualized world, in which we now live, has brought the purchase of customized products to an all-time high. Studies show that interest in product customization gained a 2.4x increase from 2015-2018. Where customization was once a luxury afforded only to a few, now it has become the new normal available to virtually all consumers. As most aspects of purchasing are now digitized, consumer needs have become increasingly diverse.
Currently, there are 4 avenues for product customization. The first two of these avenues include adaptive customization, which includes products with a standardized function and design, but many products use (ex. Phillips light bulbs) transparent customization, in which the function of the product is customized, but the appearance is standardized (ex. Custom beauty and hygienic products, such as Curology or Madison Reed.) The third avenue for product customization is cosmetic. This means that the function of the product is standardized, but the appearance is customized and requires some customer input. This includes products such as customized shoes, like Nike by You or custom Converse. The fourth avenue is collaborative in which the function and appearance are both customized and input from the consumer is crucial. An example of this is Sheffer Cylinder Configuration. The customer works with a Sheffer engineer to design the cylinder to meet their specific needs.
All this variety and customization means that one pitfall for businesses is allowing for too much customization, which is not appealing to 42% of consumers and costs the company unnecessary expense in product creation. This is why a product configurator is a necessary tool for product customization. Configured products are the happy medium between standardized products and 100% customizable products. Standardized products are the least costly and require the least effort to make. While bespoke products cost the company much more. They require the most effort, and take longer to produce, meaning the customer is likely to be kept waiting. Configured products are cost-effective and able to be mass-produced to meet customer demand. Meaning businesses and customers each receive the best parts of standardized and bespoke products without the drawbacks that come with each.
In the end, product configuration is simply good for business and a necessary tool in a world where customization is no longer the exception, but the rule.