Consumers Can Also Be Producers with a 'Build Your Own' Product Configurator Research Technique

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Rajan Sambandam, Chief Research Officer, and Pankaj Kumar, EVP of TRC Market Research, have co-authored a two-part series of white papers about using product configuration as a market research tool. The papers make an argument for using Product Configurator, a choice-based technique to evaluate new product and service concepts. Product Configurators imitate how consumers create and then order their ideal product. They are simple, respondent-friendly, and ultimately powerful tools for product development research and even segmentation. The configurators can handle complex products without sacrificing data quality or analytic power and get consumers to make choices just like they would in the real marketplace.

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In many situations this method has the potential to surpass existing methods of preference elicitation (such as discrete choice conjoint).

In their new two-part white paper article series titled “Configuration: An Approach for the Times” (part 1) and “Product Configuration: Evidence for Effectiveness” (part 2), Rajan Sambandam, Chief Research Officer at TRC Market Research (], and Pankaj Kumar, TRC’s Executive Vice President, elaborate on an increasingly popular market research technique called product configuration. Part one of the series provides a general explanation of the technique, its advantages and how it compares to the commonly known and used ‘discrete choice’ method. Part two delves into greater detail, using results from a specific study to show what kind of information can be derived, and what possibilities advanced statistical analysis can offer.

As Rajan Sambandam and Pankaj Kumar put it, “product configuration is a deceptively simple and engaging way of gathering information from consumers by having them build their ideal product. In the process of building they provide a lot of insight into their preferences allowing companies to design products that are much more likely to resonate in the market place. In many situations this method has the potential to surpass existing methods of preference elicitation (such as discrete choice conjoint), while at the same time providing an engaging and enjoyable experience for the respondent.”

The technique also offers a benefit of clarity to executives since the results are easily understood. Using a ‘what-if’ simulator executives can explore hypotheses and optimize their offerings further.

Both articles can be found at TRC’s white paper library among many other choice-related articles.

TRC Market Research is a research and analytics firm that pairs customized solutions with senior-level attention to help solve business problems. TRC provides expertise in designing and implementing successful choice-related research, such as product configurators, discrete-choice conjoints and others.

Philadelphia-based TRC Market Research is affiliated with the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and the American Marketing Association.

For more information, contact Lenka Kolar at 215.641.2225 or visit


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Lenka Kolar