In brief

In brief

  • COVID-19 is pushing the full-on digital transformation shift at OEMs to e-commerce and urges brands to invest in the experience.
  • The configurator is at the heart of e-commerce, but today’s configurators don’t live up to customer expectations of the online car sales process.
  • Customers seek for contextual, need-focused orientation and clear guidance to gain confidence in the choices they are about to make.
  • Therefore, OEMs need to escape the legacy tech trap and make progress despite technical limitations: the future car configurator.

Consumers seek personalized configurator experiences. True personalization does not swamp users with all possible options, as today’s configurators do. Instead, true personalization handles complexity while keeping variability to contextually serve the user with what is relevant to them. To help consumers successfully navigate their path-to-purchase and become their zero moment of truth, we need to rethink and redesign today’s concept of personalized configuration to what it really needs to be: an experience.

Self-sufficient simplicity and curated navigation to guide user’s decision circle

While users want to self-sufficiently drive their own journey, compare, and play around independently, curated and contextually relevant assistance is crucial for buyers being confronted with the endless amount of options today’s configurators offer. Thus, people will feel most reassured in their decision-making process when being introduced to a simply navigable and digestible overview of options that are actually relevant to them.

Here’s our idea for a future car configurator

Different, low-level need, inspirational, and comparison-based entry points throughout the whole experience guide the user to a light configurator, a tool with which they can customize their car and add some extras. The key is to offer selected options which are completely combinable, won’t cause direct buildability conflicts, and don’t complicate with the whole bandwidth of opportunities. Flanked by supporting options (e.g. “Which rims are right for you?”) the user should not be stopped to proceed if there’s still a need for explanation. If users still want to configure every detail themselves, the customizer gives direct access to the advanced configurator. In the end, transparent price communication, payment, and delivery or pick-up options are mandatory, as well as permanent access to the final checkout.

Here are our six guiding principles for designing a future car configurator:

  1. Escaping the legacy tech trap and making progress despite technical limitations
  2. Flexible integration and usage of the configuration pattern in various contexts and use cases
  3. Not bringing the internal product complexity to the customer
  4. Focus on modular design and experience
  5. Mobile accessibility is a must
  6. Visual experiences in full focus put the car in the spotlight and bring the brand to life

Kristina Bonitz

Managing Director – SinnerSchrader

Timo Fuertsch

Managing Director – Mackevision

Michael Wagner

Managing Director Automotive


Customer Experience Center Stuttgart
The future of automotive sales

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