It is not a secret that small and medium size cabinet shops are cautiously scaling up to meet greater demand in 2018. With this said, component suppliers should not presume that more business will come their way without investment in proactive customer solutions. One such solution that is continuing to gain traction in the cabinet component industry is web-based product configurators connected to an e-commerce platform.
While catalog based suppliers embraced e-commerce years back, more customized product lines such as cabinet doors and drawer boxes have still heavily relied on order forms and verbal order submission. These customized product offerings proved difficult to run through a traditional e-commerce shopping cart due to the large array of product variations, such as dimension, species, finish, and any extra milling operations requested.
Many suppliers, now, are finding solutions to conquer, and even excel at, this point-of-sale hurdle. Web-based product configurators allow shops to simply “build” the product they are looking to order through user inputs on a webpage. While basically mirroring a product order spreadsheet, modern configurators have the ability to inform the user of price, availability and lead time instantly. Along with providing a quotation for the “user-built” product many suppliers are taking the obvious next step and integrating their product configurators with an e-commerce platform allowing cabinet shops to build, quote, and order custom components at any time online.
This online interface is important to cabinet component suppliers because smaller shops are growing and therefore stretching time and human resources thin. Sourcing products, while important and necessary, is not a prioritized activity and in many cases, an activity done after traditional business hours. By providing product configuration and ordering capabilities online suppliers align their point of sale strategy to their customers’ need.
Western Dovetail, Inc. a leading drawer box supplier has a fully integrated configurator attached to each type of drawer box they offer. Users can define dimension, material, and even hardware type on the product page and generate a price instantly.
Atlanta Cabinet Shop, Inc. recently launched a line of TFL and acrylic high-gloss door and drawer fronts which is fully customizable through a product configurator. ACS’s configurator is integrated into not only a shopping cart but a full account management portal on their website.
Understanding the value of an online interface of this capacity is crucial for cabinet component suppliers. It is an important selling proposition to small and medium sized cabinet shops experiencing growth and a key factor for capturing and keeping future business.