The days of one-size-fits-all are long gone. Custom, create your own and modify are now common options on menus of products. The "Chipotle-style" of restaurants where you create your order based on available ingredients are commonplace. Consumers now expect tailored experiences adjusted to suit their specific needs, tastes and interests. To meet those expectations, today's brands need to adjust their product and service offerings accordingly.
While much has been made of the idea of personalization, today's businesses should be focused instead of customization. Let's take a look at what this entails and how it can be achieved.
From Personalization to Customization
We're all familiar with the notion of personalization. This is where a brand adapts to consumer preferences. If you've ever signed up for a supermarket loyalty program or curated product emails from a fashion company, you've experienced personalization. Other examples of personalization include being able to select from a range of colorways on a pair of shoes or monograms on an item of clothing. Brand personalization reflects consumers' personalities and identities, aligning with their interests and encouraging conversion. Critically, brand personalization is led by the company - not the user.
Customization, on the other hand, is driven by the consumer. It's where consumers can tailor the precise experience they have with a brand and its offerings, creating something unique to them and their needs. Rather than selecting from a pre-defined series of colors or styles, they have the freedom to completely shape the end product, creating something truly one-of-a-kind. The Nike by You custom range is a great example, as is the Finding Ferdinand makeup range. Customization allows consumers to engage with a brand in a way that lets their own individuality shine. It invites a deeper level of engagement that in turn engenders greater loyalty.
The Driving Force Behind Customization
Long gone are the days when people could buy a Model T Ford in any color so long as it was black. Thanks to advances in technology, brands are in a position to be able to offer customized experiences on the fly - and without the associated overhead.
AI is a major driver in this. Always learning and able to crunch huge amounts of data, it allows brands to anticipate consumers' needs and seamlessly meet them. 3D printing technology is another driving force behind the customization trend. This technology makes it possible for brands to take and produce one-off custom orders without the price tag that custom solutions used to require.
What's key here is that these technologies have put customization within reach of brands of any size. It's no longer just the Nikes or Googles of the world that are able to adjust size, color, functionality and design to suit consumer needs. Small businesses can now offer web, shopping or travel experiences that have been precisely tailored to the individual consumer.
Customization By All, For All
If your business hasn't yet begun to explore a customized offer, now is the time. Weigh and consider the manifold ways that consumers could interact with the product or service you provide and seek to provide customized solutions accordingly. You don't have to start big. Customization can be injected into any part of the brand experience, from your digital catalog to your packaging. Even a small degree of customization will provide new and exciting ways for consumers to interact with your brand - and more reasons to believe.
Need help and insight on implementing customization for your brand? Get in touch!