ARTICLE

Planning Your eCommerce Configurator's Functionality

A product configurator’s functionality could make or break how the users perceive it. Therefore, the best way to approach working on its functionality would be to think about how your audience would prefer their user experience.

Quite a lot of developers try to follow the general patterns they notice in other user experiences. Although this strategy plays it safe, it does not work for every brand or company. Thinking and planning outside the box is perhaps the best way to get the product configurator’s functionality right.

Let us discuss some important factors that you should consider when planning your configurator’s functionality.

Smooth Pathway

Shoppers want their configurator to work flawlessly. In other words, the configurator should function like a digital shopping mall where shoppers can roam around for hours without worrying about anyone trying to upsell them their product or service. Since this is the age of smartphones, very few people bother to use their desktop to do their shopping. Instead, most people prefer using their smartphones. It is convenient and provides easy access.

Quite a lot of users choose to work on desktop designs first and mobile versions later on. The efficient way to do things, however, would be the other way round. Since desktop configurators are much bigger and have a lot of room to cram in a plethora of features, trying to integrate the same version for mobile phones rarely works out. Neither the layout nor the features fit in, ultimately making the configurator’s functionality difficult.

The tighter space in mobile versions helps to identify the vital elements needed for the configurator. You can then spread these features out on desktop versions, later on, making sure that the functionality on both devices is optimal.

The Configurator Should Ease the Users In

The configurator’s first impression should be a lasting one. Sometimes the product or service that a brand offers can be hard to comprehend for users. The interface should help them simplify things and avoid any complexities that come in their way. The functionality should ensure that the user eases into the configurator. Basic questions and color options (if any) can make a lasting impression and tempt the user to continue exploring the product configurator's features. Presenting shoppers with tough questions and features upfront is a surefire way to chase them away.

Providing Clarity

Clarity is vital to ensure top-notch functionality. Users should know the next step available to them. It could be something as simple as adding a product to the cart, contacting a customer service representative, a lead generator, or even a summary. The configurator should not leave users looking for more or guessing what their next action in the process is.

Offering Efficient Customization

Users come to configurators from various entry points. Some of them come from social platforms; some come from websites, while some are attracted through offline marketing. In addition, everybody has a different purpose on the configurator. Designing the configurator in a way that offers users customization options can take it a long way.

Giving Users Autonomy

Most modern users these days know what they are doing. You do not need to hold their hands and show the configurator around.  This also applies to users who do not know their way around an e-commerce product configurator. Simply said, users like autonomy, and that is precisely what a brand's configurator should offer them. The functionality should ensure that shoppers can move around on their leisure. It makes for a customized experience and lets users reach their specific destination easily, and more importantly, independently.

Prioritizing Functionality over Flashiness

Over efficient functionalities and interactions are quite disorienting and over stimulating for users. Adding too much style and interactions into the configurator is a recipe for disaster. Users should always be aware of where they are in the configurator; therefore, designing functionality that prevents confusion and prioritizing style over substance is the best way to go. 

Efficient Configuration on Various Platforms

Doing some user research can help you understand from where most users want to access your brand’s configurator. For instance, several users prefer to configure services and products on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook instead of downloading other apps. Avoid making users work to see your product – Instead, take your products and services to them.

Develop and integrate the configurator in the user’s lifestyle. However, make sure that it is completely non-intrusive. Facebook and Volvo are prime examples of this as they allow users to configure their cars on the platform rather than downloading an app or going to the product’s website.

Letting Users Resume from Where They Left off

Giving users the freedom to resume their configuration whenever they want is an important function. Cookies and deep linking are excellent options to achieve this. A vast amount of users tend to check a product thrice or even more before they finally purchase it. Creating a method that is not abrasive and lets users resume their activities from where they left makes for an excellent function as well as user experience, which eventually improves conversions.

Customizing Functionality to Suit Lifestyles

Configurators tend to become really overwhelming in a short amount of time if they have too many features for their own good. Mitigating information overload and showing users things that are relevant for them is perhaps the best way to prevent the configurator from getting overwhelming. Asking shoppers to provide a few lifestyle-related questions could provide you a filter that lets you trim down the configurator’s options. This also ensures that the options that the user sees are within their constraints. 

Focusing on a Linear Workflow

Design the configurator’s functions in a way that does not disrupt its workflow. It should keep on moving linearly and let customers know about their progress or how close to completion they are. Prevent disabling the back button as quite a lot of users decide to make adjustments before finally ordering a service or product.

Bottom Line

Keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind can come in handy to develop a rock-solid functionality for your brand's configurator. It would also be helpful to research successful brands similar to yours and take inspiration from their approaches if relevant.

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