Product Personalization and Customer’s Buying Behaviour

With the demand for customized or personalized products being at all time high, it is also getting the attention of a growing number of companies and this has lead to a gradual introduction of products that can be partially or entirely customized. Sellers of everything from dress shirts to handbags and even consumer packaged goods are discovering the value of letting customers create their own unique products.

Individuals have long expressed themselves through various forms of media such as the clothing they wear, and accessories they use. And consumers that customize a product are more likely to become brand advocates and repeat purchasers, completing the loyalty loop.

Beyond the pure size of the opportunity, a survey from Bain & Co. showed that those customers who had personalized a product online, tend to get more involved with the company. They made more frequent visits on the website, spent a little more time on the page and were more loyal to the brand. They surveyed more than 1,000 online shoppers and found that 25% to 30% of shoppers are interested in online customization options, even if only less than 10% have tried it until now. While it is hard to gauge the overall potential of customization, if 25% of online sales of footwear were customized, that would equate to a market of $2 billion per year.

Forrester’s JP Gownder in a study on his company blog says that more than 35% of U.S. online consumers are already interested in customizing product features or would purchase a build-to-order products that use their specifications.

This might sound vain, but just look at what brands outside the personalized product industry are doing to fuel this need. Nike, Puma, Adidas and Converse all have now given people, the ability to completely personalize the color and material of certain products in their shoe product line and people are willing to pay a premium price for these personalized options.

Personalized Products in All Industries

Due to the popularity of products like photo books, photo calendars, and photo cards, the photo merchandise market has experienced strong growth over the past few years. This study examines the “next-generation” of printed products with a focus on developments in custom printed cards, stationery items including products like contact cards and journals, and photo-based home décor.

Today, customers can customize everything from cars to cup cakes to their backpacks and shoes. So businesses that offer customized products will remain competitive in an evolving landscape.

“A variety of major brands – like Kraft, Hallmark, M&Ms, Wrigley, Nike, Keds, Ford, and many others – have recently introduced important mass customized product offerings,” writes Forrester’s JP Gownder. “The time is now for product strategists in all industries to consider adding mass customization – including true build-to-order products – to their product portfolios.”

Choice between Personalization and Standardization depends on Customer Characteristics

Not every implementation of personalization leads to positive responses from customers and extreme personalization may very well lead to loss in customer interest due to the complex decision-making process while customizing product. There can be variations in customer responses regarding different levels of personalization. However, individual customers may respond to the range of personalization differently based on their personal characteristics. For example, customers with a high level of innovation or need for cognition may enjoy products offering an extreme range of personalizing options. Thus, before taking your business personalization way, check this:

    • Evaluating the nature of your products and if they are suitable for customization.
    • Investigate your customer traits that influence the choice between personalization and standardization and segment your product offerings based on customer demographics.
    • Determine how much customization to offer. Some businesses offer easy customization options based on pre-built templates while other offer start from scratch options. Each company must determine the type of customization to offer based upon the needs of its customers as well as based on its own business objectives.
    • Look for a very simple and clean product personalization interface making it easy for your consumers to do-it on their own. Do not run after features but user experience as easier to customize better are chances to complete order.
    • Offer product replacement guarantee in case customers do not find the custom product built as per their specifications. This will go a long way in encouraging your customer to for personalized products, thus increasing average order value on your website.
    • People who prefer to order personalized products always look for design inspirations and help in creating personalized design. In such cases, how-to tutorial videos are a huge opportunity for your business to win customers. You can grow your brand loyalty by offering them easy how-to videos, design inspirations in form of personalized products ordered by other customers, examples or illustrations of the options for configurations, warnings about attribute combinations that would not work well etc.
    • You can also offer live design assistance and can charge for it, so that customers can finish their personalized orders quickly with desired level of excellence.
    • You can even offer a designer service at a fixed price where your graphics design team curate customer details and photos and create a custom product for their approval. Once approved, the custom product is added to customer account from where they can preview and order it further.

The personalized products are here to stay

The selection of the product’s features, colors and shape generates thoughts concerning ‘how would it feel’ to own that object. This emotional attachment can explain why some consumers have a clear preference for product customization. The same feelings may drive repeat purchases as consumers seek products that have been embedded with their personality.

The other influencer for growing customized product market is growing technology that’s making it affordable to even small and medium size businesses to adopt product personalization software with easy to use and clear interfaces on their online storefronts from which consumers can create personalized products.

The data and statistics shown above not only indicates that the product personalization is here to stay, but that the companies that works on winning their loyalty now will be able to see gains from their purchases for many years to come.

Check out our All-in-One Designer solution that helps you offer product customization on all products and merchandise in your catalog with an easy to use design studio interface and a self-service storefront. You can even register yourself for a live demo with our web to print consultant to know more.

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