If you’re an influencer or manage an influencer agency, you understand that selling merch is an important part of engaging your community. Most influencer merch generally features a classic phrase you say or brand aesthetic on a variety of products: apparel, prints, tote bags, drinkware, and much more. While this kind of merch is a good way for your audience to support your brand IRL, there’s one type of item you can offer that will make your fan base even stronger. And that’s a customized product.
What are customized products?
Product customization allows your fans to make changes to merchandise—like a t-shirt or mug or framed print—to achieve their preferred experience. For some online stores, product customization looks like personalizing a throw pillow cover with their child’s name and favorite animal. For others, it might look like custom portraits of their dog on a canvas print. At first, this process might sound like it requires a ton of costly coding on the back-end of your merch store, but it doesn’t! In recent years, customized products have proliferated the eCommerce industry through advancements in technology. Below, we’ll share the benefits of customized products and how you can incorporate them into your merch line.
What are the benefits of customized products?
Build fan loyalty. When your fans personalize a product, it transforms them from a passive buyer to an active buyer. They are part of the process to develop the product, increasing their satisfaction. Personalizing a product establishes a connection between your influencer brand and audience, which also promotes retention and repeat purchases.
Grow your audience through word of mouth. A personalized product is a natural conversation-starter and something that is instantly shareable on social media. Because your fan was personally involved in developing the merch, they are more likely to be emotionally invested in the product as well, making them more inclined to share it with their friends.
Drive more merch sales. You most likely started a merch line to add another income stream, so increasing your revenue is an important factor to consider. According to a Deloitte study, 1 in every 5 consumers would not mind paying 20% extra for an exclusive product. While the cost of customized products might be slightly higher because you may have to hire a visual artist to design it, you can ultimately charge more for it because consumers know that they are purchasing a specialized, unique product.
How to implement product customization in your merch store in two steps
Step 1: Establish the parameters of customization. What items can your customer customize? Can they choose the accent and base color? Can they upload custom text or a photo? You can either allow a customer to fully customize the product from top to bottom or offer more minor customizations based on your bandwidth and needs.
Like with any business, it’s important to incorporate your personal take with product customization. Don’t just copy what other influencers or brands are doing. If another online store only offers vector art designs, differentiate your style with hand-drawn designs instead.
Step 2: Choose the design process. Once you’ve decided to incorporate product customization into your merch line, the next step is to figure out how you are actually going to customize that product. There are a few options that vary in budget and scope:
- Hire a developer to create a custom application/API for your store. This is, of course, the most expensive and time-intensive approach. However, if you’ve found great success with product customization, then hiring a developer might be a worthwhile investment for your business.
- Outsource a visual artist on Fiverr or Upwork. This is the most common approach for stores that offer product customization. When a customer indicates their custom specifications, you can then send it to an artist who can mock-up the final product image.
- Do it yourself in-house! Especially if you’re creatively inclined and just starting to test out product customization, this is the best and cost-effective alternative. Once your store starts to grow and scale, you can then outsource the design work or invest in a third-party app or developer.
Why use Gooten for your product customization needs
We’ve demystified the customization process. By simplifying and automating the back-end fulfillment process of customized products, we’ve saved our merchant partners countless hours of manually entering order information. All you have to do is upload the image of the customized design and you’re done! Our integration also significantly reduces the possibility of human error, so that your customer receives the right order at the right place.
No inventory. No problems. At Gooten, we utilize a print-on-demand model—a process where products are manufactured only when needed in the quantities required. Meaning, you never need to worry about boxes of unsold inventory!
Easy store set-up or migration. If you have your own merch store, then you can connect with Gooten in a matter of minutes. Integrate your store in a few different ways:
- Through an eCommerce platform like Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce
- Place orders directly via Gooten’s Order Management System
- Directly through your online business. This is where Gooten shines. We can support customized, out of the box direct integrations with online businesses, homegrown tools & platforms, and a myriad of unique use cases like bringing commerce to an online game.
Elevate your merch store and build your audience loyalty with customized products! Questions on how to offer customization in your store? Check out our Support Center with a step-by-step guide on how to implement customizable products in your store today.