What is the cost to create a product configurator for an eCommerce store?
A product configurator (in the article also abbreviated with ProCo) has many advantages for the end user, who wants to easily build their own solution.
Be it on Magento, Shopware, oxCommerce, WooCommerce, having a selling tool online can be very helpful for the users.
BUT: They are usually complex to develop.
Most companies do not want to use “Ready-Made” tools, because they usually do not fit with their requirements. But especially that would reduce the development time dramatically.
Building your own custom product configurator
There are several shop systems for which/ in which you can develop such a tool:
- Magento (widely used onlineshop system)
- Shopware (commonly used shopsoftware in Germany)
- WooCommerce (for smaller stores)
The other approach would be to build it from scratch with technologies such as:
- PHP (Laravel, Symfony, Zend)
- Ruby on Rails
- and many more
Some tips on how to go about the project of developing the tool
- For the beginning, keep it as simple as possible: Online shop product calculators, which you find online are usually complex tools which have been developed over long duration’s. So even though they look simple, they are not. So to reduce your time to develop the tool, keep it as simple as possible. That way you can reach a working solution in a shorter period of time.
- Save yourself integrations to third party systems/ keep it to a minimum: In the first step, develop a good product configurator. Only when the configurator is up and running start and is good from a usability point of view, should you think about third party systems (like Enterprise Resource Planning, etc.) Because that itself is usually a challenge. Third Party Systems need experience.
Here 6 steps which you can use to build great product configurators.
- Hire a Magento/ e-Commerce Developer via (SELF PROMOTION START) My Company YUHIRO (if you are from Germany) or if you are from somewhere else Software-Developer-India.com This developer can work full time on your products and you will reduce your overall cost. (SELF PROMOTION STOP) or Hire a Magento/ e-Commerce Development Company.
- After hiring the developer, the client needs to find a real challenge their customers face while shopping with them, and build the solution for it.
- Create the design: Wireframes, clickable Mockups (which show the different screens), can help to get a first feel for how the finished solution will look like. And this will also help in estimating the project better.
- Try to give a budget and only then check what can be built with it: Many aspiring product configurator owners will not reveal the price on how much they want to spent on it. But this will make it difficult for the development company or the programmer to prioritize the different functionalities and suggest which functionalities can be omitted so as to reduce the effort to build the solution.
- Reduce more functionalities if you see that it becomes too complex: If you or especially the development team sees that the project becomes too complex and takes too much time to develop, then start reducing a few more functionalities. Instead of insisting on all agreed functionalities and therefore jeopardizing the whole project/ the investment.
- Test it with your customers and get feedback: Giving the first version to a few selected customers and getting feedback will help you to make the last few important changes to the system. (Of course in this stage, only minor changes can be made, as the system is almost completely developed)
The cost for building such a tool will be in most cases between 5000 US Dollar to 45′000 US Dollar. Depending upon the complexity of the system.
If you are really flexible you could even use some existing plugins, which are priced at a few hundred US Dollars. In this case you could even do it yourself, if you take some time to learn the system.
If you are a non-technical person
If you are a non-technical person, then you should hire an external expert consultant for a few hours per month who can assess the code and output of the solution being delivered by the service provider or the software developer. (But make sure that he/ she has no other interests in this project than that of consulting you on making the project better)
Saving time by using shop systems
There are several shop systems like Magento, Shopware, OXID, osCommerce, WooCommerce. These can be used to speed up the process of building an e-Commerce Shop.
A lot of functionalities are already inbuilt, like the shopping cart or the backend for managing sales and products.
Most of the times they support also the features needed by a ProCo.
A product configurator can really be helpful for internet users. Especially in e-Commerce shops it can lead to more sales and a better user experience.
But make sure to keep in mind that it is a complex task to build such a tool. Better try to reduce the functionalities and start at a smaller scale, you can always add on new features later.
Picture Source: Flickr.com/ Kip-koech/ ebayink
The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.