ARTICLE

Custom Coded Versus Off-The-Shelf Configurators

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte which is a highly regarded business advisory firm, around 36 percent of customers show interest in personalized services and products.

The research proved the customers’ interest in personalization by revealing three personalized product categories where they (customers) made the most purchases. These categories were: Furniture, Clothing, and Holidays.

Several brands utilize customized product configurators. The term product customizer is also used to refer to these configurator types. These custom coded configurators often come in handy to enhance the user’s experience on a website or any other e commerce platform.

However, for some businesses, custom coded configurators are a necessity as several of their products are dependent on combining various elements that need personalization, which can only be attained through customized product configurators. Needless to say, product configurators play a vital role in an e commerce business’ success.

How Configurators with Custom Code Create More Options for Users

As abundantly clear, custom code can open up a plethora of options for shoppers as it allows them to make various versions of products by customizing them. It also helps to improve customer engagement on the ecommerce business’ website. In addition, it also helps to gain returning visitors on the website, essentially increasing brand loyalty.

Let’s use the highly acclaimed sports brand Nike as an example. It provides a variety of shows, each of which contains different combinations. Every pair of shoe has multiple colors for its base, shoelaces, as well as the insoles. Now, it is up to Nike to list these combinations individually. However, using a product configurator that lets the shoppers create their specific combinations by selecting the different attributes is an excellent way to provide the customers with a customized experience and achieve their interest. This would have been impossible without custom coding the configurator.

What Makes a Product Configurator Worth It?

Although the example discussed above certainly gives a fair idea of what an effective configurator really should do, there is much more to it than that. Some configurators are quite restricted when it comes to providing options to the customers, for example: flavor, shape, size, and color, whereas advanced configurators stand out because of their highly advanced logic running abilities. This helps them to facilitate the customers with a variety of complex combinations that a simple packaged tool may not be able to offer.

By choosing an advanced custom coded product configurator, you may be able to let your customer place their own text or images on a product that you are offering (for example a t-shirt or a phone case. The configurator could even allow them to reposition or resize the image or the product at a specific location.

Packaged Tools Also Offer Convenient Extensions for Configurators

Because of the ever increasing demands of configurators, quite a lot of packaged tools provide numerous extensions that are as good as the features that custom coded product configurators offer. Although the extensions that these packaged tools offer provide convenience, some e-commerce retailers may find an issue with it, which is:

-        Although setting up an extension is fairly simple, some stores end up investing in added features that might get replaced or become useless.

-        Extensions that provide advanced features often rely on tons and tons of JavaScript present inside their source code. This could put a lot of unnecessary load on web servers, essentially slowing down the website. It could also conflict with different codes on your business website.

-        Extensions that the development team does not regularly support could end up becoming a bad investment over time, especially if the team does not take care of maintenance issues.

By no way does this mean that you packaged tools are not worth the investment. On the contrary, you should try incorporating them whenever it makes sense and align with your configurator’s functions. For something as complex as a product configurator, which is essentially the hub that generates income for your e-commerce business, it would always be wise to use custom code instead of extensions or packaged tools.

The Benefits of Product Configurator with Custom Code

-        As the name suggests, custom coding a configurator means that you have the liberty for overcoming unique challenges that your customer and business presents. Custom coding a configurator cones in quite handy to find perfect solutions to extremely specific problems.

-        In addition, custom coding ensures that it meets all of your requirements that you highlighted in during the evaluation period.

-        You can easily expand and modify your custom coded configurator making sure that all the functions align with your e-commerce business model. Since you created and own the software, you have complete liberty to make changes according to your preferences.

-        You will also gain an edge over your competitor. If the customized solutions that you are offering are unique, you will definitely stand out from your competition.

Where Packaged Tools Could Help

-        You may be looking for a short term solution for your configurator, and want to get something sooner instead of later. The good news is – packaged tools come in really handy for quick installation. You can use them immediately too. However, keep in mind that the packaged tool that you are using may not have functions compatible with the current system that you are using. It will slow you down and cancel the benefits out.

-        Packaged or off the shelf tools are quite affordable in comparison to custom coded configurators. That being said, although purchasing them is cheap initially, they can turn out to be quite costly after a while because of the regular maintenance they require and some of their insufficiencies.

What Should You Choose?

What you ultimately choose for your configurator ultimately depends upon the requirements of your business. If you are in a hurry and want to get things up and running, a packaged tool may be helpful. However, if you are looking for an effective long term solution, go for custom code as it will help you to come up with the exact customizations and solutions that will propel your business to the next level.

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