Over the past few years, the rapid rise in the popularity of e-commerce and an increasing customer preference for personalization has led to a revolution in visualization technology. Today, you have e-commerce giants such as Amazon investing in new rising startups. Meanwhile, other established players are bringing in their own new visual configurators.
These developments are lifting the traditional constraints that previously held organizations from fully realizing the potential of incorporating visualization platforms into sales and service channels.
With that said, there exists a divergence in approach between B2C and B2B companies in regards to how they are making use of visual configurators.
B2B vs B2C Visual Configuration – The Divergent Approaches
In both B2B and B2C, the use of visual configurators has led to an acceleration of the sales cycle. This has greatly reduced customer churn and placed the customer at the center seat in the entire process. However, the fundamental difference in the sales process between the two sectors has been in their focus.
In B2B, the focus has been on facilitating an increased collaboration between the sales and manufacturing teams to reduce errors and increased transparency in the sales process. In B2C, the focus has been on up-selling and cross-selling, allowing customers a better means of comparing, assessing, and visualizing products and their accessories.
Product Lifecycle Management
Another key area where there has been a divergence is in the realm of product lifecycle management. In B2Bthere is a relatively high degree of product personalization and with production coming after order. Thus, there has been a heightened need of bringing greater synchronization in the clock speeds of the various involved systems (e.g., CAD, PLM, CRM, and CPQ).
B2C, on the other hand, features a more limited degree of personalization options and (most) production happening before order. The advent of visual configuration hasn’t brought about many changes in their product life cycle management.
Visual configurators are doing more than just empowering customers in personalizing orders and streamline the sales process. They also are serving as a valuable source of insight on customer preferences. For B2C, this means they can better know what product accessories and items they should discontinue.
Meanwhile, in B2B, visual configurators can allow clients to better assess a product design’s innate weakness and strengths even before they get manufactured. Through their feedback, companies can bring about improvements in their products and deliver better value to their clients.
Visual configurators are a relatively recent innovation, yet the impact they have already made in the industry is immense. As its adoption increases and more players enter the scene in delivering specialized solutions, the gap between B2B vs. B2C visual configuration will continue to increase.