Simply put, a configurator is a software application for designing products exactly matching customers' individual needs.

Configurators can be found in various forms and different industries. They are employed in B2B as well as B2C markets and are operated either by trained staff or customers themselves. Whereas B2B configurators are primarily used to support sales and lift production efficiency, B2C configurators are often employed as design tools that allow customers to "co-design" their own products. This is reflected in different advantages according to usage:

Main advantages (B2B)

  • Lower distribution costs
  • Quicker reaction to customer inquiries
  • Reduced capital commitment and less overproduction
  • Error elimination throughout the ordering and production process
  • Quality improvements in customer-service
  • Worldwide access to up-to-date product information

Main advantages (B2C)

  • Differentiation through individuality
  • Reduced capital commitment and less overproduction
  • Better knowledge of customers' needs
  • Higher customer loyalty
  • Shopping as experience

In both cases, configurators enable mass customization, which depends on a deep and efficient integration of customers into value creation. The challenges faced are relatively similar:

Main challenges (B2B and B2C)

  • making complex systems easy to use (usability)
  • integration into business IT-systems (eg. ERP system)
  • modeling products within the configuration system

Configurator synonyms

A number of different terms may be used synonymously with "configurator":

  • configuration system
  • configuration tool
  • choiceboard
  • co-design platform
  • toolkit