Interactive Mass Customisation
Back in the time when Ford T was launched, we were all up for it in the same black colour. We would still be up for it, if it would have come in any other colour than black. Nowadays, we have a habit of using identical phones, computers, and even to the extent of buying the same kind of shoes.
In a world, which is swamped by goods that are perfectly alike, we all have a desire to stand out and show off with unique possessions. Thus, today’s consumers, have different preferences and views compared to the previous generation.
The expectations and preferences of these customers have been fuelled through the interactions with the digital world. And that is why consumers now are not ready to settle for the same thing, which their friends or relatives have already possessed or used.
Now the demand for something that is one of a kind has increased. And to satisfy this demand, marketers, industries and even luxury brands are integrating Customisation features into their products to match the unique interest and habits of their target market while providing them with the opportunity to showcase their individuality by owning the product. And this is exactly where mass colour comes into play.
Marketers refer to Mass Customisation as a marketing business method that is an ideal blend of flexibility and personalization of products. Which are custom made, along with low unit costs for being associated with mass production (Sai, 2019).
In other words, businesses have started to adopt this in an attempt to give customers what they want, while still making a profit.
This has made mass customisation a new wave of innovative technology in designing product strategies. With increasing sales through mass customisation, several numbers of brands over the period have taken a shot at this innovative technology, but have been disappointed due to lack of knowledge regarding the right implementation of mass Customisation (Zeijderveld, 2018).
Many marketers and brands have frequently been accustomed to failure as they are observed to cloud the lines between mass production and mass customisation (Kubs, 2018).
In order to keep up with the market, it is vital to comprehend that customisation implies to produce according to consumer needs, however, production means to simply produce goods based on a single standard (Sai, 2019).
Following this, mass customisation is producing goods to suit the needs of customers, on a large scale. On the other hand, mass production means to produce a single standard product on a large scale.
Surprisingly, the pioneering and marketing tactic of customisation originates from a period of historical times when the system of factories was non-existent. For instance, a cobbler provided services of designing shoes, custom-made, i.e. according to the customer’s foot size and preferences, when there were no shoemaking companies.
Nevertheless, owing to the absence of factories and technological advancement, such customisation was not done on a large scale (Zortax, 2017).
In contrast to the older times, modern era’s computer and IT-based technologies have made the emergence of mass customisation possible even in the luxury brands of not just cars, but footwear, clothes, watches and accessories.
Illustrating an example from the German automaker, also known as a premium brand, Volkswagen. It has been confirmed as an early bird to provide mass customisation through new 3D technologies (Jackson, 2018).
The head of their technical and innovation department presents his stance in favour of mass customisation, explaining that automation in the production process is meeting new challenges of changing trends every day.
Customers are demanding more personalized features, simultaneously the complexity of engineering new models is increasing. For that reason, the company has now taken the approach of state-of-the-art technologies (i.e., 3D printing) to ensure a personalised, smooth and efficient product at the end of the finishing line.
Other brands being a proponent of mass customisation include Nike and Vans (Garoia, 2018). Adopting the feature of mass customisation in their product line have enabled their consumers to select from a range of various materials and combination or themes of colours to design their sneaker according to their preference.
While, a women’s footwear brand, known with the name of Shoes of Prey. It offers plenty of personalization features to choose from. Such as the height of heels, style, leathers used, and fabric used in the shoes.
In spite of all the options and demands, customers seek to satisfy through custom-made products. They are reluctant to spend a high percentage of their income on it when it comes to the comparison with a non-customized version of those custom-made products. It happens since customization is perceived to be something of a premium feature, adding value to a product, hence, in general, is expensive.
The buyers of the modern era give significance to customisation. Where even their phones can be personalized by downloading various combination of apps, their device and google accounts. Know all about their preferences while giving them nonstop access to their favourite movies, books and music (Zortax, 2017). Hence mass customisation is the only way forward!
Yahong Zhang is head of marketing at Hapticmedia, a provider of 3D configurators that improved customer journey and have doubled clients’ e-commerce conversion rates. She also writes about SEO and inbound marketing for start-ups.
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