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Complex Products

We met with a prospect today that sells manufactured doors for homes. One of the interesting things was that they had only 3 door varieties but with all of the window configurations and customizations they had over 7,000 SKUs creating probably thousands of variations.

He wanted to create an online order configurator. With their current system, a 100 page printed product guide, not even their sales reps could figure out how to sell the product and it takes more than 15 minutes just to calculate a price.

The owner of this company was a really nice guy and I would have liked to work with him, but with the solutions we knew about we couldn’t help. It would take 6 months and we’re not prepared to take on that sort of project now, and I don’t think he was either.

My advice to him was to simplify his product. However, I must admit to not knowing his business very well. Perhaps this level of variety is prevalent.

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

3 replies on “Complex Products”

Hi Chris….

As a graphic designer I have on occasion come across projects like this. I have found that when trying to find a solution to problem like your clients it’s helpful to look at other industry with similar problems.

One came to mind as I was reading your post.

The after market car parts industry.

Years ago, I was involved in developing interfaces for interactive kiosks. I work on a demo unit for a car parts store in which a customer needed to make choices such as make, model, year, type of product, finish….etc.

Perhaps you could find a solution to your problem examining how companies like pep boys help customers find parts.

Just a thought.

Good Luck

Hugh Henry

We had exactly the same type of client tho these guys sold PVCu glazing and had various openers etc… we worked out a massive array and ended up loosing out because we quoted a fixed price 🙁

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