Blog Category: Visual Configuration

Kickin’ the Tires with 3D Product Visualization

Have you ever heard the phrase kickin’ tires before? Maybe not? Basically, it comes from early drivers who would kick tires to ensure they weren’t made of cheap, poor quality rubber. Believe it or not, some would find one kick could deflate a whole tire. Those shoppers aren’t as lucky as we are to be able to visualize products before they’d step on a lot as we do with 3D product visualization. 

Potential buyers are still doing this when they’re on car lots across the world. But given the current circumstance, it’s a little hard to step on a lot and kick tires. Finding a viable option to deal with the lack of in-person customer now can also have benefits when we return to a more normal routine. 3D product visualization is something many sellers are using to stem the tide between in-person and online shopping. So how can you give the kickin’ tires experience online? Let’s find out.  

Change your first impression for the better with 3D product visualization  

Consider your last big purchase, did you search online before? Most likely you did, imagine your customer wants to buy a new truck for their construction operation. Would they want to see pictures of any old truck, or are they looking for a custom set-up? The answer is yes, everything about your customer’s business is unique from what they haul to where they haul it. Now they’d love to see how it’ll look with a myriad of options. 3D product visualization has you covered to impress your customer.  

3d Product visualization

Start with their 3D product needs  

Your group of customers does everything differently, so you need to be able to create a way for each unique one to create a product to their custom needs. With such a wide array of trucks, they can pick which one is the one that fits their needs. Volume restricted goods or a tipper? Your customer can choose quickly in this online product configuration.  

3d product visualization

Maybe your customer isn’t sure which application they’d like because they are so similar but look how quickly you can change the trailer on the truck with 3D product visualization. The quick visualization gives an accurate expectation to your customer of how certain items will look. This can be done with or without your sales team in the same room as the customer. That may sound like bad news for your team, but it’s actually a great and unique way to keep customers engaged online with your products. Building on their own time will enable them to see the differences in products while creating an emotional attachment to your truck. 

Visualization doesn’t have to stop at trailers, your customers can see tires change in real-time. How many do they want? 4×2 or 6×4? The selection of tires can become an essential part of the function of the truck, so picking tires using guided selling can show if a configuration is possible or what would need to change to make it possible.

Kick the tires with photorealistic interactive images

With no showroom to go to quickly be able to show how features change remotely can give your customers a realistic feel for different product features. These tires are changed in an instant to show different product options.

3d product visualization

Customers are visual buyers

Your customer wants to see every different feature they’d like. Using 3D visualization is a great option for your sales team to help create a mutual understanding of products online or in person. Creating this type of personalization can go beyond tires and trailers, but extend into other areas of the truck with colors, cabs, and even lights quickly configurable.

Where to next?

We know kickin’ the tires in-person will come back someday, but for now, we’re doing out best to keep in touch with customers and create that in-person feeling. Using 3D visualization can help keep the ball rolling in any industry. The connection you create now with customers will continue in person when you create engaging relationships based on 100% accurate product visuals both you and your customer will enjoy.

Want to learn more? Check out our ultimate guide to visualization here (direct download)!

Check out how remote 3D visualization and CPQ are keeping our manufacturing customers in touch with customers with these helpful guides and infographics: 

Guide: The Future of B2B Manufacturing Sales Starts with Visualization

Optimizing Remote Sales: The New Manufacturing Challenge

Heavy Vehicle Manufacturers Guide to CPQ 

Book your demo!

How to Win More Channel Sales Deals Using Visual Configuration

Channel Sales is a well-understood strategy. When a product is complex to build, configure, and sell, manufacturers turn to channel sales to handle the groundwork of commercializing and distributing your products. In doing so, you get to focus on the development of the product, while your channel partners focus on finding and signing new customers. 

Why are channel partners important?  

Channel Sales partners tend to be closer to the customer both geographically and in terms of establishing relationships. A great channel partner is one that is able to translate customer needs and match them with the products and solutions you offer. By making the task or the channel sales rep simple, efficient, and effective, you can win more deals. In other words, it is your job as a manufacturer is to make your products and solutions easy for sales to match them with the customer’s needs.  

If you are using channel sales you probably have dedicated teams ensuring that their channel partners are working from them. For example, Pelco a Motorolla Company specializing in security cameras, and nVent talk about how they are working with channel sales to configure, price, and quote their products. 

Check out the full video here

How can manufacturers ensure that their channel Sales delivers more sales? 

Your responsibility towards your channel partner is to help them sell. If the channel partner is not exclusive, as in it is also offering you competitor’s products, you need to ensure that you are the go-to solution.  

How can you ensure that channel sales offer your products above your competitor’s? Certainly not by being the cheapest, nor by offering higher commissions and payouts. This is a race to the bottom, and one that you certainly don’t want to win.  

Instead, you should focus on making your offer easier to sell to the end customer. One of the ways to do this effectively is using visual configuration 

Visual configuration is a feature of Configure, Price, Quote software (CPQ), that shows customers the product as it is being configured. It uses realistic 3D and AR technology that is not only visually impactful but also 100% accurate to the configured specs.  

A closer look at the sales process with Visual Configuration 

The elevator industry is a great example. This industry typically relies on channel sales partners to sell their equipment worldwide. It is also a great example because elevators must not only meet stringent regulations to ensure safety, they must also be appealing in terms of design and finishing details. 

Safety first: product configurator as a failsafe 

How can we ensure that the designers, sales teams, and customers configuring the elevator do not prioritize design over safety or operational feasibility? 

Visual configuration is based on the configurator (constraints-based, AI-powered algorithm) that ensures that each product selection is 100% compatible with technical requirements, and thus buildable. It also ensures that all regulatory, and design requirements are also accounted for. 

Without a robust CPQ behind the sales tool, manufacturers would require sales engineers to go through, in detail, the configurations that resulted from a customer meeting or a sales order. Sales engineers were the original failsafe.  

However, given the amount of time it would require a team of sales engineers to control each configuration, sales teams avoided deviating too much form the standard offering, leaving the customer to choose basic standard options. This all changes with Tacton’s Visual Configuration.  

The start of the Visual Configuration Process 

Step 1: Capacity and Dimensions 

First, you need to decide and define how big the room, or the elevator cabin should be. The elevator needs to fit in a pre-designed space or place and therefore defining and adjusting the width, height, and depth of the cabin and the resulting constraints like the possible load. 

(Images of different cabin dimensions) 

Step 2: Materials and Finishings 

After deciding on the dimensions, the next step is to design all surfaces in the room or in this case the cabin. From floor materials, over wall designs to ceiling colors. A wide range of materials and colors are available for different use cases that need to fit and work well together when combined. 

On top of the design additional room or cabin accessories and products like bumper rails, hand roles, mirrors, different door types, entrance sides and glass walls are available to be placed at different positions and in different configurations. 

 (Images of different cabin designs and accessories) 

Step 3: Lighting 

Lighting also plays an important role in the design of a room or an elevator interior. Different light types, forms, and alignments create different moods and illumination. Regulations change from region to region as well. 

 (Images of different lighting configurations) 

Step 4: Buttons Panels and Controls 

One very important product and part of a cabin configuration is the operation panel to use the elevator. Configuring a complete operation panel is a complex task as well with a wide range of different buttons, displays, information plates, communication devices, and other components that can be selected and that need to be placed and arranged on the panel surface. 

(Images of operation panel configuration) 

Spatial configuration is a complex task that is best solved by human interaction, reflecting individual preferences and needs. Dragging and dropping the individual elements on the panel, rearranging them in real-time, and getting instant feedback about possible geometrical constraints and resulting conflicts is an essential function in any configuration process. 

(Images of spatial placements and conflicts) 

Visual Configuration delivers more Channel Partner Sales 

As we have discussed, visual configuration carries two primary advantages for Channel Partner Sales. First, it makes the sales process easy, and effective for the salesperson. A sales rep can trust the configuration is 100% correct, and therefore can assure the buyer every step of the way.  Second, accurate and real-time visualizations can transform an ordinary sales meeting. Customers can see renderings of their options in 3D as well as in Alternative Reality.  This short video drives this point home.  

If you are depending on Channel Partners to sell your configurable products, Visual Configuration is a safe bet to drive more sales.  

Why does Tacton use a fully integrated Visualization solution with CPQ? 

How are fully integrated visualization solutions with CPQ changing manufacturing?

Visualization (also known as Visual Configuration, or 3D product configuration) is the combined use of digital technologies (Augmented Reality, 2D and 3D visualization software) to be able to configure products directly in the three-dimensional visual representation. Visual Configuration software enables your sales team and customers to configure their 3D products quickly and accurately from anywhere. Enabling an integrated visualization solution with CPQ is a step many manufacturers are taking this year. 

What are some visualization benefits?  

  • Buyers see with their own eyes how a product they will receive looks like. 
  • Customers can understand how product customization decisions (choosing a specific product variant or product option) impact the final product. 
  • Companies can highlight unique selling points and special product functions. 
  • Further simplifying a complex configuration task by visualizing the different product options and functionalities instead of describing them with text-based descriptions. 
  • Companies create trust in their solutions because they use AR (Augmented Reality) to show the configured product in the actual usage environment and customers can immediately check spatial specifications. 

Visualization has been on the minds of manufacturers for the last few years as an addition to their eCommerce initiatives. Many have transformed their selling process by adding real-time visualization, in real environments for their prospects and customers. Visualization has been a major selling point to customers who now grapple with at-home demos and product configurations.  

Different approaches to visualization

Creating a great customer experience that fits seamlessly in your existing technical architecture sounds great doesn’t it? To me it does, but with so many options on the market, it’s important to find a visualization solution that is built to be agile, and maintainable with no surprises in the back end.  

With a push for more visualizations across the manufacturing industry, it can be a lot to learn about the industry. Many manufacturers have a lot of questions about the different options available to them. That’s why we’re here to help discuss two different approaches for adding visualization to your CPQ applicationusing a 3rd party game or rendering engines and their maintenance workflows or using visualization as an integrated part of the CPQ solution.  

What are game or rendering engines? 

A Game Engine is a software development environment/framework for creating video games or interactive applications. They provide multiple functionalities including a rendering engine (2D/3D), a physics engine, collision detection, an audio enginescripting/logic engine, animation, artificial intelligence, user input handling, user interface generation, and networking capabilitiesAdditionally, they typically provide an editortools, and content pipelines to drive and support the game creation process. 

Different Game Enginelike Unity or Unreal are focusing on different audiences and target platforms. Not everyone is best suited to create web-based experiences in a browser, while others are not providing the possibility to create native mobile experiences. 

The central part of a Game Engine is the Rendering Engine or Renderer which is responsible for generating the graphical output, turning 3D models, textures, and material descriptions in a visual image on the screen. Instead of using a Renderer as part of a Game Engine, it is possible to use a stand-alone Rendering EngineWidely used WebGL-Renderer are for example ThreeJS or BabylonJS. 

What are the benefits of using a widespread game or rendering engine? 

  • If it is a commercial one or driven by an active community, the development speed for new and improved functionality at a high quality will most likely be superior compared to building and maintaining your own engine with only a few resources. 
  • If it is used by many developers and users, good documentation, training, knowledge, and experience will be available in various ways. 

Tacton’s fully integrated visualization solution with CPQ

At Tacton we offer our visualization solution as part of our Configure, Price, Quote solution for a fully integrated creation and maintenance process. We see several benefits of using and maintaining the visualization as an integrated part of the CPQ system compared to a separate 3rd party game or rendering engine. 

A common strategy and aligned roadmap 

When it comes to the two different solutions, they serve the same end purpose, showing your product in a visually appealing, exciting way to sell to customersThe product roadmap is an important aspect of buying any solution, and visualization is no exception. After the purchase of any 3rd party software, like a game engine, buyers are at the mercy of the vendors strategy and roadmap. A game engine is mainly built with a focus on creating games. Bigger Games Engines are opening their target audience but creating and integrating dynamic visuals in a dedicated CPQ system is not among those target use cases 

So potential needs of a small customer base looking to use the visualization for their highly complex product configurators are typically not the highest-ranked priorities on the roadmap. With Tacton visualization we make sure to consider our customers unique needs when it comes to changes, improvements, or new functionality to support their workflows and use cases the best way 

Even if you only want to use a small part of a Game Engine, as the 3D Engine, you must use the complete tool pipeline and process designed by the vendor. Once you are in the solution, there is no way out. For example, it is not possible to only use the included 3D Engine but build your own tooling around it. Tactons visualization is already tailored to the needs and requirements around extending the configuration process with visualization. 

complimentary maintenance experience 

Mapping configuration to visualization is not as straightforward with an external maintenance workflow compared to an integrated one. For example, the wording is with no relation to the configuration at all, making you learn and map every domain and requirement. And only using the rendering functionalities of a game engine leads to excessive parts that users can’t get rid of, so they must navigate their way around it.  

Especially for the major Game Engines, learning the necessary essentials and mastering all the tools and processes is quite a challenge if 3D Game development is not your main occupationCreating tailored solutions specifically in the area of visualization can reduce ramp-up time and speed up the learning curve since the use case and the users are much narrower compared to a general Game Engine with multi-purposes.  

And if one of the goals and values of your solutions is that customers/manufacturers should be able to maintain and extend the visualization part on their own, it is not very convenient if the customers/manufacturers must buy and learn those 3rd party tools and processes as a mandatory component. This makes it much harder and complex to transfer the responsibility after the initial setup. 

Tactons integrated visualization solution is designed to perfectly align and match with the bigger goal of enhancing a configurator with visualization with the least necessary friction in the process. The visualization builds on top of existing knowledge and workflows in CPQ, minimizing ramp-up time, making it one integrated experience. 

Check out our upcoming webinar on visualization!

Out-of-the-box integration to CPQ 

When using a 3rd party visualization for a CPQ + visualization project, it is not one standard product that is offered. It will always be two products (from two vendors) + an integration between what is offered. This integration needs to be maintained and adjusted as well over time since interfaces are likely going to change. 

With Tacton it’s one platform, everything out-of-the-box and everything developed and improved together ensuring a working solution all the time with no additional efforts. 

One approach for all use cases 

Depending on the use cases and related platforms you like to support with your Visualization solution, it is quite hard to find only one engine to support all of them in the best wayWeb-focused engines have a hard time utilizing the full power of native platforms and engines with a native-first approach struggle more when used in web-based scenarios.  

Supporting native mobile apps as best as possible on top makes it even more complex to find a proper engine. Most Game Engines and Rendering Engines with a focus on the web need supporting technologies to run natively on desktop or mobile devices, reducing the benefits of running natively. If you are not able to solve all use cases with one engine, the complexity of the tech stack and all workflows and tools around it is increasing quite drastically.  

With Tacton’s own visualization, we are able to support all our customers use cases out-of-the-box with the same approach and workflows. You do not need to add additional tools or processes to support web and mobile. 

An integrated visualization solution with CPQ can be your next big win

Visualization is a complex topic, with so many different options for success it can be difficult to pick one that is right for your business. If you’re in the manufacturing industry, it’s important to work with providers who have experience in the field. At Tacton we’ve got over 20 years of visualization experience, specifically for manufacturing. Learn more by scheduling your personalized visualization demo or get your complete guide to all things Visualization!  

Win More Channel Sales Deals Using Visual Configuration

Channel Sales is a well-understood strategy. When manufacturers lack the means to effectively commercialize and distribute their products and services they partner with specialized re-sellers. In doing so, the manufacturer gets to focus on the development of the product, while the channel partners focus on finding and signing new customers.

By helping your channel sales with a more simple, efficient, and effective sales process, you can win more deals. In other words, your job as a manufacturer is to make your products and solutions easy for your channel partner to sell.

If you are using channel sales you probably have dedicated teams ensuring that their channel partners are working from them. A couple of examples of companies working actively to make their channel sales successful are, Pelco – a Motorolla Company, and nVent talk about how they are working with channel sales to configure, price and quote their products.

Check out the videos below:

How can manufacturers ensure that their channel Sales delivers more sales?

Your responsibility towards your channel partner is to help them sell. If the channel partner is not only offering your products but also your competitors too,  you need to ensure that you are the go-to solution.

How can you ensure that channel sales offer your products above your competitor’s? Certainly not by being the cheapest, nor by offering higher commissions.

By competing on price, you might win the deal, but you will certainly end up losing the customer in the end. 

Instead, you should focus on making your offer easier to sell to the end customer. This way, both the seller and the buyer can perceive the value of the product more clearly, and thus paving the way to the signing table. One of the ways to do this effectively is using visual configuration.

Visual configuration is a feature of Configure, Price, Quote software (CPQ), that shows customers the product as it is being configured. It uses realistic 3D and AR technology that is not only visually impactful but also 100% accurate to the configured specs.

A closer look at Visual Configuration

Don’t Miss it! We are hosting 2 LIVE WEBINARS on visual configuration,

one for the US and one for Europe.

Tacton Visual Configuration webinar

For US & Canada – March 18, 2 pm EST/ 1 pm CT – Register HERE
For Europe – March 23, 15:00-15:30 CET – Register HERE

(back to the article)

The elevator industry is a great example for explaining the sales process using Visual Configuration. This industry typically relies on channel sales partners to sell their equipment worldwide. It is also a great example because elevators must not only meet stringent regulations to ensure safety, they must also be appealing in terms of design and finishing details.

Safety first: product configurator as a failsafe

How can we ensure that the designers, sales teams, and customers configuring the elevator do not neglect safety or operational feasibility? How can we avoid delays by having to review all details, ensuring that they are compliant with building codes and regulatory standards?

Visual Configuration without a robust CPQ behind the sales tool, manufacturers would require sales engineers to go through, in detail, the configurations that resulted from a customer meeting or a sales order. This was cost-ineffective and lead to delays in the sales process.

Visual configuration is based on the configurator (constraints-based, AI-powered algorithm) that ensures that each product selection is 100% compatible with technical requirements, and thus buildable. It also ensures that all regulatory, and design requirements are also accounted for.

Not all visualization tools are the same. Visualization must be supported by a powerful configurator working behind the scenes. 

The start of the Visual Configuration Process

Step 1: Capacity and Dimensions

First, you need to decide and define how big the room, or the elevator cabin should be. The elevator needs to fit in a pre-designed space or place and therefore defining and adjusting the width, height, and depth of the cabin and the resulting constraints like the possible load.

Different elevator cabin dimensions

(Images of different cabin dimensions)

Step 2: Materials and Finishings

After deciding on the dimensions, the next step is to design all surfaces in the room or in this case the cabin. From floor materials, over wall designs to ceiling colors. A wide range of materials and colors are available for different use cases that need to fit and work well together when combined.

On top of the design additional room or cabin accessories and products like bumper rails, hand roles, mirrors, different door types, entrance sides and glass walls are available to be placed at different positions and in different configurations.

Different elevator cabin designs and accessories

(Images of different cabin designs and accessories)

Step 3: Lighting

Lighting also plays an important role in the design of a room or an elevator interior. Different light types, forms, and alignments create different moods and illumination.

Different Elevator lighting configurations
(Images of different lighting configurations)

Step 4: Buttons Panels and Controls

One very important product and part of a cabin configuration is the operation panel to use the elevator. Configuring a complete operation panel is a complex task as well with a wide range of different buttons, displays, information plates, communication devices and other components that can be selected and that need to be placed and arranged on the panel surface.

Elevator operation panel configuration

(Images of operation panel configuration)

Spatial configuration is a complex task that is best solved by human interaction, reflecting individual preferences and needs. Dragging and dropping the individual elements on the panel, rearranging them in real-time and getting instant feedback about possible geometrical constraints and resulting conflicts is an essential function in any configuration process.

Elevator spatial placements and conflicts

(Images of spatial placements and conflicts)

Conclusion: Visual Configuration delivers more Channel Partner Sales

As we have discussed, visual configuration carries two primary advantages for Channel Partner Sales. First, it makes the sales process easy, and effective for the salesperson. A sales rep can trust the configuration is 100% correct, and therefore can assure the buyer every step of the way.

Second, accurate and real-time visualizations can transform an ordinary sales meeting. Customers can see renderings of their options in 3D as well as in Alternative Reality.  

If you are depending on Channel Partners to sell your configurable products, Visual Configuration is a safe bet to drive more sales.

Ready to learn more? Check out our visualization page, or download our ultimate guide to visualization

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality for Manufacturers

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality:

Virtual reality vs augmented reality are two terms that get compared a lot in modern manufacturing. But what are they? What’s the difference between the two? These are just a few questions that many ask about the current state of visualization, luckily for you, we’ve got the answers you need!  

Immersive experiences are becoming more and more common in modern visualization. It is possible to cluster the different technologies and approaches depending on the amount of virtual/digital content that is used for the visualization. 

 

(Image of all Extended Reality technologies) 

Extended Reality (XR) refers to all real and virtual world combinations and is used as an umbrella term for AR, MR, and VR.   

Virtual Reality for Manufacturers 

Virtual reality has quite a long history and describes a type of visualization that is completely digital and does not include anything directly captured from the real world anymore. On top of the content, the other important characteristic of this approach is that it is experienced by using special head-mounted devices (HMD or Headset) to look at the visualization.   

These headsets provide the true impressiveness of this approach. By completely changing reality and fully diving into 360° virtual reality. Users experience the digital world as “real”. It is possible to navigate and move in that digital world and experience everything as if it would real. 

(Image of a Virtual Reality installation) 

Virtual Reality itself is a spectrum of different variants  

From simple WebVR providing simple VR experiences in a web browser to fully immersive experiences including more senses than just vision, for example, audio.  

Several vendors and technologies are available and in development making the VR landscape a bit unclear. A wide range of stationary and mobile systems in different price segments are available.   

Stationary systems provide higher performance and more sensors to increase immersion but need cables to connect the headset with a computer and for power. Mobile devices are handier since the computer and the power source are integrated but are not suited for every purpose.  

The focus for Virtual Reality is the consumer market and especially the gaming industry. Besides this main area of focus, VR is mainly used in designing and engineering phases in manufacturing, for training and education, planning, and simulation purposes.  

VR is also highlighted at tradeshows, and as digital showrooms for experiencing architectures and interiors where this technology enables users to experience their designed spaces. Especially in a sales discussion, VR can be a problem because of its occlusion of the user from everyone else it is likely to “lose” the customer in the actual experience, making the actual sales process minor matter.  

Virtual Reality is not an ad-hoc visualization. Special and relatively expensive hardware (VR headsets) are necessary, the environment in which the experience is used needs to be prepared and users need experience with the technology itself to use it properly and to enjoy it. Especially the isolation factor when using VR glasses is something to get used to and to consider when using virtual reality. In many situations it is crucial to directly communicate with others not part of the experience, have eye contact, and interpret reactions and emotions.                             

Augmented Reality for Manufacturers 

In contrast to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is not completely digital, it is extending the real world with virtual content. By overlaying virtual objects on top of the image captured with a camera, the real world becomes extended.  

Every modern smartphone or tablet can execute augmented reality applications which make the technology much more accessible than virtual reality which always requires additional and specific hardware and training. 


(Image of a principal tablet setup) 

On the other side, since the augmented reality visualization only takes place on the smartphone or tablet screen, the immersive effect is much less compared to wearing a full occluding VR headset.  

AR can be differentiated into Marker-based and Markerless 

Using a marker to define the spot where the virtual object will be placed has been the first AR variant and is therefore supported by older mobile devices. If the marker is captured by the camera, the virtual object is located at this position.   

Markerless AR is possible with modern mobile devices and automatically detect surfaces like the floor or tables and positions the virtual objects on these surfaces. It does not require any prior preparations (like providing and placing markers) and the virtual objects stay in their position even if the camera is not looking at this spot.   

Besides the impressive marketing aspects, operations and services like repair guidance are very common use cases for Augmented Reality. Additionally, due to is easy and fast accessibility, Augmented Reality is best to use for simple and straightforward product presentations and experiences for a broad audience.   

Another important benefit of Augmented Reality is the fact that the virtual object can be visualized in its desired destination. Design and aesthetic questions can be answered directly, and it is also possible to verify real-life dimensions. General spacing and layout questions can be answered immediately without providing any physical and costly product examples. 

 

(Images of different AR visualizations via Tructon) 

Now, AR is only reliably possible via dedicated mobile Apps. Another alternative is currently in development, enabling AR right from the Browser, called WebXR, without any specific app. This will make AR content standard, very similar to regular 3D content which is getting more popular lately by Google integrating and including 3D real-time visualization right in their search results and displaying it directly in the browser.  

Mixed Reality for Manufacturers 

Mixed Reality is the latest technology and extends Augmented Reality so that virtual content can recognize real-world objects allowing physical objects to interact with virtual ones. Changing or adjusting objects in the real world will have an influence on virtual objects as well. For example, moving an object will automatically move attached virtual objects as well or real-world objects are able to overly and occlude virtual ones to increase impressiveness and plausibility.   

MR is enabled by using a transparent headset that overlays the virtual objects over the real world. The most prominent representative for Mixed Reality is Microsoft’s HoloLens technology. Using a headset has the advantage compared to AR that the hands are free which makes MR especially attractive for use cases like training and service. Since it is a quite new technology, available hardware (like Microsoft HoloLens or MagicLeap) is still expensive and lacks expectations regarding performance. Nevertheless, this technology has great potential, especially for service when performance, power, and Field-of-view problems are solved, and the standard has been established.  

Now that you’ve got a quick lesson on Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality with a bonus of Mixed Reality, it’s time to learn more about how visualizations can change how you sell your manufacturing products. Check out our ultimate visualization guide for a deeper look, click for your direct download:   

Enhance Your eCommerce Experience with Visualization

Creating an eCommerce Experience with Visualization is the next frontier of manufacturing

2020 taught us a lot of lessons, the main one for manufacturers is that it’s a necessity to enable an eCommerce journey for customers. We’ve learned a lot and so have manufacturers who have started creating an exciting sales journey for their customers. regardless of where they are locatedMany of our manufacturing customers have found ways to shift to an online journey, and they all share one secret, visual configurationLet’s look at just how much the market has shifted in the past year and why visualization is important for long-term eCommerce success for manufacturers.  

New to visualization for manufacturing? A quick definition: 

Visual product configuration (also known as Visual Configuration, or 3D product configuration) is the combined use of digital technologies (Augmented Reality, 2D and 3D visualization software) in order to be able to configure products directly in the three-dimensional visual representation. Visual Configuration software enables your sales team and customers to configure their 3D products quickly and accurately from anywhere.   

A rapid shift to an eCommerce experience with visualization

In the last year, alone manufacturers have started looking for different solutions to work with a reduced workforce and an increasingly online customer. Just check out how much go-to-market models have changed since April 2020. 

(Source) 

With so many companies changing their go-to-market strategies it’s important to consider how internal initiatives are affecting your own manufacturing business. With so many companies finally shifting to online sales it’s time to go beyond just a normal eCommerce journey, with simple product photos, technical drawings, or even text-based descriptions. Customers want to see their product, interact with every change and see how it will fit in their real-life workspace or environment. 

B2C companies like Nike have been doing this for years. Other companies are using visualizations to place furniture, medical equipment and more in the real-life environment of a perspective buyer. Creating custom products intrigues buyers, keeps them online longer, and will ultimately get them to spend more this isn’t just a trend, but something that can transform a manufacturing customer experience.  

A custom journey for every customer 

Think about those shoes again for a moment. Everyone who goes to the Nike ID store wants something a little different. Their favorite colors, materials and more are picked out with exact detail for the shoes. They are quickly shown the product they want in a fun 3D interactive way and can quickly check out. That’s where manufacturing and the typical B2C journey split.  

Manufacturers often sell highly configurable products that can only work with certain product features. A pair of shoes has its limits on what you can change, a Nike Swoosh color won’t make the sole of the shoes do not workIf you create a truck, for example, the bed of the truck may need six tries to support one product feature but need 8 to support a different one.  

Without accurate quotes and visuals, it’s more likely to create products that have design errors, costing money and time for your business and upsetting your customers. That’s why it’s important to visually create the custom products your customer wants. Giving them visuals will cut down on errors, lead to upsell opportunities and create that wow factor you’ve been looking for.  

Think bigger for your eCommerce process 

Once a prospect identifies their needs, it’s time for industrial manufacturers to reinvent their buying experience using Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) with Visualization– all integrated into their website and internal systems. This enables a seamless buying experience across channels that connects customers directly to your brand. Powered by CPQ integrated into your web experience, anyone has the power to configure highly customized industrial manufacturing products based on their defined needs.  

Guided selling asks questions based on customer requirements, building an optimized solution in real-time. When paired with 3D visual configuration, the customer can see every change they make on their screen in real-time.  

Additionally, leading visualization capabilities include augmented reality (AR) for an even more immersive B2C-like experience. A powerful CPQ paired with 3D Visualization all but guarantees you are generating high quality leads with low touch- all through your website. After all, when is the last time anyone comfortably made an eCommerce purchase without visuals? 

Go beyond standard eCommerce visualization with Tacton

Creating clothing, shoes, furniture, luggage, and more is a classic use case for many visualization companies, but if you’re in the manufacturing industry it’s time to go beyond with a combination of CPQ and visual configuration. Here are just a few reasons Tacton goes beyond the typical visualization for manufacturers:

Visual Asset Creation 

Manufacturing products are bigger and more complex than ever. This makes input data much larger, taking time to prepare especially to ensure acceptable performance quality. Fitting together these parts with geometrical constraints and parametric components adds just another layer of complexity. This is all that goes into just one product, not doing that with an entire product portfolio may be challenging. Many 3rd party visualizations simply can’t handle the complexity.

Learn more about visual asset creation in our Tech with Tacton Blog: The Visual Asset Creation Process

Visual Logic

With so many moving parts in manufacturing products it’s important to be able to define what is changing, when, and how. Imagine visually configuring a truck and changing the bed of the truck, the wheels may need to change, typical visualizations would make you restart the process, Tacton visual configuration enables you to see the changes in real-time. This also helps with updating configuration and constraints which are constantly changing. If a product is updated in CPQ those changes will be reflected in the visualization.

Self-Service and visual configuration 

Embedding a visual product configurator directly on your website can be part of a self-service customer experience that will make you the envy of the industry. After all, customers are more likely to spend more time, and more money on a product they’ve built themselves. Check out the amount of money customers are willing to spend if they have a self-service experience: 

With fewer human interactions buyers are still willing to pay top dollar for their custom products. It all starts with a visually appealing product. Visual configuration remains an essential part of the buying journey for customers. The more excited they are about the product, the more likely they are to buy the product and come back for more. Real-time visualizations can make all the difference in empowering your online customer journey. Reinventing how you sell products sounds intimidating, but the benefits will keep your operation running fast, with leads and sales being more interested than ever in your products. 

Want to learn more? Schedule your demo or read more about visualization in our Ultimate Guide to Visual Configuration

The 5 2021 Manufacturing Sales Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss

The 2021 Manufacturing Sales Trends  

The year 2020 has been a pivotal year for manufacturers. We have seen important shifts in manufacturing that have impacted many of our customers strategies for 2021 and beyond. We’ve curated these insights from our customers and analystscompiling the key trends expected from manufacturers in 2021. But first, let’s look at the year in review. 

 2020 a year like no other  

2020 was a tough year for everyone, manufacturers included. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the digital-readiness of the industry as it was forced to shift to digital-first sales operations. As a result, there was an acceleration in digital transformation across the industry. 

The manufacturers that will thrive in 2021 are those that actively seek innovation and are willing to abandon old ways of doing things. This is what many experts refer to as “embracing the new normal.” 

Sales teams were one of the hardest hit by the pandemic amid travel bans with all on-site demos, negotiations, and crucial face-to-face meetings indefinitely ‘postponed’. Combined with economic uncertainly, sales teams were forced to interact in new, often uncomfortable ways as they transitioned to digital interactions. These challenges have shifted how and when we work, making it important to adapt to the current situation while also embracing the future with new ways to interact. Now as comfort with digital interactions grows, many of our customers have shared how they plan to embrace the new normal and take a digital-first approach to sell.  

Buyer Enablement is the key driver in manufacturing  

Traditionally the buying experience for manufacturing products is high-touch, very complicated, and often disjointed. Partner that with recent economic uncertainty, social distancing practices, and unease about travel– there’s a new sense of urgency to enable digital selling channels. 

New research from Gartner indicates an acceleration of B2B sales in digital channels. By 2025, the expectation is that 80% of interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. Partner that with current economic uncertainty, it’s clear there is a race to reinvent the buying experience across all B2B sales, specifically industrial manufacturing.  

With fewer deals to go around and a more competitive landscapeyou have to find new ways to differentiate yourself and provide a superior B2B buying experience that copes with the constraints of the times and that better suits the needs of the customer 

The leaders in your industries, and many of our customers, are already using or are well on their way to implementing disruptive technologies such as Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ), visualization, and even eCommerce, to meet customer expectations with a focus on buyer enablement. 

This trend is nothing new. Manufacturers have been slowly moving towards an online buying experience over the past years. However, the pace has now accelerated as B2B sales migrate online and critical buying decisions are made by teams working remotelyWe are certainly not the only ones seeing this trend towards online buyer enablement. In late 2020, Accenture published a report on the state of the B2B digital economy for manufacturers.  

According to Accenture’s research, the new normal has 74% of industrial buyers are researching at least half their purchases onlineThe trend from offline to online is bound the accelerate in the coming years. By 2025, the same study reports 20% of all customizable industrial purchases will take place online. This makes a shift to an online buyer-driven experience more important to the long-term success of your organization.  

Disrupting the traditional buying experience is the first step to success. So now, let’s take a look at the top trends we have gathered from our top customers and prospects. 

 1.) Building Self-service buying experience for highly configurable products 

With buyer enablement comes an increased focus on customer self-service. This has created a shift that enables customers to purchase manufacturing equipment using self-service without interacting with a sales team. While buyers are already accustomed to starting their process online and completing it with the help of a salesperson, they are expecting to do more and more on their own. The self-service experience is extending beyond the research phase and into the configuration, quoting, pricing, negotiating, and ultimately purchasing of your products—all online. 

Self-service empowers manufacturers to offer an experience that goes beyond traditional selling methods. Enabling self-service throughout the product lifecycle, from the first interaction to re-order, can help your company become more efficient and profitable. This is done by utilizing the wealth of unique product data from CPQ to make recommendations using Guided SellingFor example, you can cater to returning customers by offering specific product features to them, based on their past purchases or data gathered from past product configurations. Using analytics can take you one step further by showing which product features or addons are more likely to sell and which aren’t selling as quickly. These unique insights can drive your product development, inventory decisions, and protect your margins. 

Enabling self-service makes it easy for customers to engage remotely from their home office, the warehouse, or in the field for an expedited process. A great self-service experience for your customers will go beyond simply describing your product and features and into an experience that leads to them completing orders and making deals that are larger and with higher margins.  

Want bonus content? Check out our eBook on the top manufacturing trends!

2.Real-time 3D Visualization for configured products  

Everyone knows B2B customers have been starting their buying journey online for years. Buyers were limited by the product descriptions provided by the manufacturer, often listing the variable options and configurations possible, but without being able to explain if the product could be configured to their exact needs. 

This year has forced interactions between you and your customer to move online and this has made buyers expect more from their digital experience. Text and images are not enough to engage buyers when they engage digitally. This has put a lot of pressure on vendors to create digital-first disruptive experiences. This is where real-time 3D Visualization steps in and offers both an engaging and disruptive experience—all online. It’s clear no one will buy products sight unseen and that becomes increasingly evident as digital engagementnormalize. 

Visualization is the key to building self-service, digital-first experience on your website. CPQ paired with Visualization empowers anyone to configure highly customized products and see every change they make on their screen in real-time. This allows your customers to see the exact product as they configure and make changes to it. Additionally, features like Augmented Reality (AR) allow your customer to place a 3D image in a room and walk around it as if it was standing in front of them. Our customers are investing in delivering a best-in-class experience that ensures their customers get a personalized showroom-experience wherever they are working from. 

Manufacturers, especially those offering configurable industrial equipment, understand the challenges of visual configuration. Until just a few years ago, visual configuration, that is the ability to render real-time phot-realistic 3D images of a configured product, was deemed technically impossible. Prior to CPQ, product configuration was an error-prone process that was slow and costly. CPQ not only enables the configuration to be done in a matter of seconds, it also enables visualization to be done instantly with the assurance that errors eradicated, and prices are accurate. If implementedyou can put the power in the hands of your customers through your website.  

The benefits of Visualization do not end at customer experience. In fact, product visualization reduces reworks, increase deal margins, and accelerates the sales cycle. Leaders across all industries understand this and are making moves to put visualization into their 2021 strategy. 

3.) Support the complete customer buying journey with eCommerce 

Buying (and selling) goods online have become commonplace in B2C industries such as retail, services, and hospitality. eCommerce has normalized the online experience for the consumer and those same expectations are transferred when the individual consumer goes to work as a B2B buyerFor Manufacturing, however, the implementation of eCommerce has been slow and, until recently, technically impossible.  

Manufacturers’ sluggish adoption of eCommerce can be attributed to two primary factors. The first has to do with the technical difficulties in preparing a technically-sound, error-free, configured product quote. The task of configuring the product would require an entire team of sales engineers, working days, or even weeks to configure the product just right. Pricing the product was another hurdle for the sales teams to overcome. Before CPQ these tasks would be done manually (using numerous fragile and complex excel sheets).  

The second reason why manufacturers were slow at adopting eCommerce, was due to the size and complexity of the deals themselves. B2B manufacturers would rely on numerous face-to-face meetings, demonstrations, explanations from the salesperson in order to ensure the buyer that the product met spec and to demonstrate the value of the product before a final purchase decision was made.  

Today, CPQ has changed much of the way industrial equipment is bought and sold. With CPQ, salespeople can configure a product as they meet with the customer, and have the complete quote emailed to the customer before the end of the meeting. When CPQ powers your eCommerce platform, the customer can be assured at every step, that the options chosen are compatible with each other, and that the product parts are in stock. The buyers can also compare and contrast various alternatives and ensure that they are making the right decision.  

Providing fast accurate products will help customers get what they need when they need it, throughout the product lifecycle—all through your website.  

4.) Selling subscription services for Predicable Revenue 

Predictable revenue during times of economic uncertainty is the envy of all businesses. For the manufacturing industry, this could easily breimagining the way you commercialize your products and building new business modelsOur customers are thinking about servitization as a new financial model to enhance the way their customers experience their productsServitization refers to the phenomenon of offering the products and equipment as a service, where the customer pays a fee for the use of the product, reaping the value of the use of the productAirline jet engines is one of the most well-known use cases of servitization, where Rolls Royce or GE provides the power unit, maintenance, and upkeep of the engines, while the aircraft owner pays a fee for the usage 

By incorporating a service modelmanufacturers can provide more value to their customers while also building a predictable revenue stream. Additionally, customers can avoid big investments and unpredictable operational or maintenance costs by simply paying for usage. 

There are numerous ways to implement servitization. Two of the most common models follow the equipment-as-a-service model. This resembles more of a rental model where the equipment is maintained and serviced by the manufacturer. The other model is more closely linked to the actual output or value the equipment provides. Here, the manufacturer charges the customer based on the usage it delivers. Using the jet engine model explained earlier, the engine manufacturer would charge the owner of the airplane per mile flown. In the simplest instances, some are looking to utilize subscription management for aftersales service agreements. 

The benefits for both manufacturers and your customers are clear. As a manufacturer, you get to work closely with your customersbuilding relationshipswhile building predictable subscription revenue. The manufacturer provides a valuable service to the customer including maintenance and deploys field service that ensures the equipment continues performing at its best. All of this improves customer experience, builds brand loyalty, and bundles all service costs into a monthly fee. With subscription service contracts, your customers aren’t buying equipmentthey are acquiring value. 

Shifting or adding revenue models may seem daunting, but leaders in your industry are already seeking to build predictable revenue models that improve the experience of their customers. When implemented as part of a digital transformation strategy, you ensure your customers have a digital portal to manage their services and continue meaningful interactions. 

5.) Connect systems and processes with CPQ for data-driven decisions 

All these trends are insightful ways that manufacturers are re-designing the sales process to be buyer-drivenThese four trends rely on the ability for manufacturers to solve one of the most crucial challengesthe ability to manage product variance using data transportabilityManaging product variance is about going beyond the configuration of the product components and into interlinking the organization around a single source of truth for product data.  

By connecting all business functions, you give everyone in the organization one source of data to work fromensuring cohesion among the various parts of the organization. This means sales, marketing, and customers are configuring products that engineering can design, and engineering is designing a product the factory can build. The ability to cope with the complexities of all product data, pricing information to inventory, and production schedule can only be effectively managed by a central ecosystem with CPQ at its core. 

The benefits of a connected ecosystem don’t just end at data integrity or data transferability. In a post-Covid-19 study, Gartner claims that 60% of B2B sales decisions will be data-driven by merging sales processes and applications. In order for you to achieve this, data silos need to be dismantled. In doing this, commercial teams will be supported by systems that make product recommendations, suggest common configurations, prove services, and provides after-sales service quotes.   

The right CPQ software connects your CRM, ERP, CAD, PLM, PIM, pricing tools, eCommerce, and all other front, middle, and back-office software platforms. CPQ can collect and process data across departments, ensuring accuracy and consistency across all customer-centric and product-centric processes.  

Managing product variance and integrating data can also extend beyond your organization and empowering all sales channels, whether it be partners, dealers, online, or through self-service. Top manufacturers see the importance of empowering the buyer and using CPQ as the engine to drive that experience. 

 There’s no turning back now 

2020 has reminded us of the importance of valuing resilience over efficiency. The organizations that best dealt with last year’s challenges were not the fastest, smoothest, or productive. Rather they were the organization that best adapted to the new reality while still delivering value to their customers. 

We have seen how many global manufacturers were able to use the current economic situation to accelerate their digital transformation. Their aim was to best serve their customers and not lose out to competitors. Digital technologies, like CPQ, have eliminated the complexities that prevented B2B manufacturers from creating a truly digital-first, customer-centric buying, and selling experience.  

The many conversations and interviews we’ve conducted with manufacturing leaders all concluded that there is no going back to the way things were. The leaders in your industries across the world are all-embracing digitalization to reinvent the way they serve their customers. In order to successfully do that, they will continue to take a digital-first approach that removes technical barriers and empowers the customers 

At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, we advised that manufacturers needed to digitalize or risk becoming obsolete. Today, in 2021, it is even more dramatic: “Manufacturers need to digitalize or die”.  

Ready to take your next step? Schedule your personalized demo today!

Contributors:

Nick Thompson, VP of Product Marketing, Tacton 

Michael Brassea, Sr. Content Product Specialist, Tacton 

Mateo Bornico, CPQ Content Specialist, Tacton 

Optimize the Operating Room with Visualization for Medtech

Visualization of an OR

Visualization for Medtech is the next frontier

Decorating your house is almost as important as buying it. After bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens your living room is the spot you’ll spend a lot of your time. Your style is different, based on subjective criteria so furnishing is important. Do you want a tv, need somewhere for the kids to play, or a dog bed, for example, Your taste defines how the living room will look while also taking into account the space needed between items such as your couch and tv? In the end, the room is intended to work for you and your family mostly, but also how it works with others who come into your home.  

A living room is an important part of your daily life, so getting it right is essential to a comfortable and functional home. Much like furnishing your living room your work environment also has to be comfortable, safe, and functional. Especially in the medical field. Furnishing an operating room or surgical theater is similar to furnishing your living room, but can become a bit more complex without some help from visual configuration 

Visualization of an OR

(Image of an exemplary operation room with different equipment) 

Where to start?  

Much like a living room, you must understand the space in the room. How would a couch fit in that corner or a medical device in the operating room? Defining the space for all the equipment will help give an idea of how things will fit. After figuring out the function of the space it’s easier than ever to configure the needed equipment with a wide range of technical devices and instillations with CPQ quickly and correctly.  

In addition to CPQ, visualization can help paint a better understanding of how products fit for your sales team and your customers. Visualization helps generate a clear understanding of all of the product variants and how they will fit into the unique space they will inhabit, much like how a couch would fit in your living room.  

 

(Image of different cart configurations) 

Optimize the Operating Room 

And all those individual configured devices and products need to work together in the best way to allow optimal processes and workflows while performing high precision tasks by several different doctors during the usage period. And of course, everything needs to fit in the available space of the desired room. 

Therefore, one very important functionality besides configuring the functionalities of the individual products is to measure if everything fits in the available space and is usable by different doctors with different physical appearances. 

Eliminate Time-Consuming Tasks with Visualization for Medtech

In the past, this was done in a time-consuming engineering task after the actual configuration process to generate drawings with different measurements corresponding to the actual configuration. Now it is possible to immediately create precise technical drawings (2D) on the base of the configured solution. 

Since time really matters in those medical equipment deals, losing a few hours or even days can easily lose the deal as well. 

With 3D real-time visualization in parallel to the actual configuration process, those measurements and drawings can be generated instantly, be verified while configuring and be attached to the proposal right away without any delay.

visualization for medtech

Visual configuration of a medical device
(Images of different configurations and their measurements) 

Creating a fully visually configurated space is a big sales advantage that increases a common understanding of the current configuration, its effects on spacingeliminating unnecessary and time-consuming feedback loops. With visualization support, its possible to shorten the quotation process to several hours instead of days. 

The process can be shortened even more when using new technologies like Augmented Reality to place the whole configuration or individual products in the real-world operation room and verify that everything fits. 

Utilizing the space of a room is difficult, from your living room to a doctor’s operating room. It’s never as easy as it seems to fit products into space. With visualization, it makes defining the space easier by offering real-time visuals of medical devices. This doesn’t only help your customer feel a part of your sales pitch, it also helps your sales team to give them realistic expectations of how products affect the space they live in.  

Check out how Tacton Smart Commerce is transforming the Medical device industry with visualization for medtech and much more in our CPQ Guide to Medical Device Manufacturing

Interested in learning more about visualization? Check out our eBook, Seeing is Believing: Visualize the Future of Manufacturing Sales

Lastly, check out our video on how needs-based guided selling can help you and your customers sell and purchase faster. 

The Rise of eCommerce for Manufacturing

The demand for eCommerce for manufacturing has rapidly changed from a low priority to a top priority in the past decade alone. With nearly every industry shifting to an online buying journey it’s critical for manufacturers to offer a fully integrated eCommerce journey for customers.

While this is commonplace in other industries such as retail, eCommerce for manufacturers has at times been a long, slow journey. Many manufacturers are wondering how we got to this point and are looking for ways to transform how they deal with online selling, to understand where eCommerce for manufacturing is going, we must understand how we got here.

A global pandemic and a shift in buying power

Let’s face it buying highly configurable manufacturing products hasn’t ever been easy. Without reliable internet and cell phones, manufacturers we’re in a good spot selling products in-person to their valued customers. In the past when searching for product buyers would find themselves in the office of the sales team discussing product specifications and pricing. That info would be sent to engineering, CAD modelers to create a final product. This old way would lead to misconfiguration, disappointed customers, and discounts to keep their business.

Now that the majority of buyers are Millenials with access to the internet and buying power directly on their cell phones it’s no longer feasible to only sell in-person and compound that with the ongoing pandemic pivot to online sales, selling isn’t going to go back to the way it was.  54% of millennial buyers make purchases online (Martech). With an estimated 72 million Millenials in the United States alone, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that buying power has fundamentally shifted to individuals who have grown accustomed to a B2C buying experience.

ecommerce for manufacturing

A shift from in-person buying to online has accelerated faster due to COVID-19

An expectation of Self-Service

With the accuracy needed for custom product quotes it’s important to implement products like CPQ as a solution that enables eCommerce for manufacturing. Proving fast accurate products will help customers get what they need when they need it.  This has created a shift that enables customers to buy using self-service without interacting with a sales team. Enabling an online shopping cart makes it easy for customers to buy from home, the warehouse, or in the field for an expedited process. A great self-service experience for manufacturers will highlight the value of any specific product.

Discover how Tacton is helping manufacturers achieve their eCommerce goals with CPQ and visualization in our upcoming webinar! EU, North America

A move towards a seamless experience

Omnichannel has been a popular buzzword across industries for the last few years. Simply put an omnichannel experience for manufacturing customers creates a seamless, multi-touchpoint buying experience. Manufacturers have failed to create an experience that is like Amazon or big retailers, which lets them know the status of their products after a purchase.  87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. (Zendesk) With that in mind, many manufacturers’ have shifted to creating an omnichannel experience that will keep the customer close, informed, and ready to buy again.

Customers want to have a unified experience that gets them their products from any channel at any time. Your customers want to be able to check the status of every order whether it’s in design, in production, or being shipped to their office. Without a connected experience, customers will opt for companies that let them know every detail about the product they’ve purchased.

Putting the product at the center of the eCommerce journey

Product information is nearly as important as the final product that’s delivered to your customer’s door. But many manufacturers have failed to give anything more than text-based product descriptions coupled with CAD drawings to their customers. Ask yourself a simple question, when was the last time you bought any product site unseen? Without proper visuals in an eCommerce shopping cart manufacturers will continue to struggle selling to an increasingly demanding customer pool. That’s why it’s important to enable customers to be as informed as possible about your product offering by giving them visuals and tech specs. Visual configuration for manufacturers has made it easier than ever to not only give visuals but let customers build their own products that are 100% configurable. This will lend trust to your business while also providing a new exciting way to showcase your products, online, anytime.

The change is here are you ready?

Simply put, if manufacturers fail to offer an eCommerce journey for their customers they will struggle to sell and ultimately lose to the competition who enable an exciting and easy buying journey. With so much at stake it’s time to start looking for solutions that transform how to sell highly-configurable products. Setting up an eCommerce solution coupled with CPQ can help make your business the envy of the industry by creating quick, accurate quotes that can be sold bought and sold online.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with one of our CPQ and eCommerce experts today!

Build Brand Quality and Credibility with Visualization

This week’s author is Tacton’s Chief Growth Officer, Mikkel Drucker! Mikkel has been with Tacton since August 2018 and has transformed marketing by doubling the team and utilizing pure digital tactics. Before Tacton, Mikkel worked with global leaders such as Nokia, Telenor, TrustPilot and Atea.  

According to Forrester purchases through sales reps declined from 46% to 42% since the start of the pandemic. These numbers indicate a move to an online sales journey, something manufacturers have struggled with. 

Differentiating your brand from your competition can be a tall task, believe me, I’ve spent the better part of my career working with business strategy, brand management, and business development. I’ve seen trends come and go but one thing remains the same, knocking off the competition isn’t easy, but can be done with quality products and a great customer experience.  

With my crash course in the manufacturing industry during my time with Tacton I’ve seen many manufacturers struggle to create the brand loyalty that companies in other industries have created. There is good news, breaking the status quo is part of the new normal. 

It starts with generating high-quality leads 

If customers are starting their buying process researching online, traditional digital marketing tactics won’t suffice. In order to generate high-quality leads in manufacturing, it’s necessary to drive breakthrough customer experiences starting in the configuration process. 

The customer experience starts with researching product information, features, benefits, and vendors online. We have all heard ‘content is king, but’ it’s becoming more difficult to stand out amongst a crowded competitive field without giving an immersive customer experience. 

Join us and other manufacturing leaders such as nVent, Atlas Copco and Intershop for a webinar discussing the challenges of becoming customer-centric in a time of great disruption 

Once a prospect identifies their needs, it’s time for industrial manufacturers to reinvent their buying experience using Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) with Visualization— all integrated into their website and internal systems. This enables a seamless buying experience across channels that connects customers directly to your brand. 

Powered by CPQ integrated into your web experience, anyone has the power to configure highly customized industrial manufacturing products based on their defined needs. Guided selling asks questions based on customer requirements, building an optimized solution in real-time. When paired with 3D visual configuration, the customer can see every change they make on their screen in real-time.  

Additionally, leading visualization capabilities include augmented reality (AR) for an even more immersive B2C-like experience. A powerful CPQ paired with 3D Visualization all but guarantees you are generating high quality leads with low touch- all through your website.  After all, when is the last time anyone comfortably made an eCommerce purchase without visuals? 

Pro Tip: Do not let a digital transformation happen without Visualization! 

It might seem tempting to hold off or move to phase two for cost purposes, but do not let digital transformation and your CPQ project exclude visualization. Reinventing B2B sales means creating an innovative B2C-like buying experience. To be successful, Visualization is a top requirement. 

The ultimate opportunity  

During the current crisis, manufacturers everywhere are searching for new ways to build a world-class B2C-like customer experience. That’s why it’s time for manufacturers to break free from the status quo and deploy new, and exciting ways to engage with customers in a way that builds brand quality and trust. If you’d like a little more info on how Marketing can lead the charge for digital transformation check out my piece: The Modern Manufacturing CMO