For decades, there has always been a demand for tailor-made products from bespoke suits to monogrammed hand towels. In recent years, customized products have proliferated the eCommerce industry through advancements in technology. Some online stores have built their entire business on product customization, while others are slowly incorporating the process into their store to enrich the consumer’s shopping experience. In today’s blog post, we’ll go over what this increasingly popular process is all about, what are the benefits of product customization, and how to incorporate it into your online store to help increase sales.
What is product customization?
At the core of most businesses is giving customers what they want. There are two ways to achieve this, through personalization or customization. While the two words may seem synonymous there is a key difference between them in the eCommerce industry. The primary differentiation point lies is who is making the changes.
Personalization is achieved through customer data and predictive technology, meaning it is usually the company that is making the changes. Customization, on the other hand, is achieved when a user manually makes changes to achieve their preferred experience.
For print-on-demand stores
For print-on-demand stores, product personalization can look like customizing a throw pillow cover with your child’s name and favorite animal like BitsyCreations offers in their store. For others, it might look like custom portraits of your dog on a canvas print like I Love Paws creates.
For entertainment & media merchandise
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 merchandise 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, offering personalized products can make your fan base even stronger.
For fashion brands
For fashion brands wanting to offer more unique, customized experiences, they must turn to personalized products to meet consumer demand. When customers personalize their products, it allows them to take part in the design process and create a more tangible, engaging experience. Ralph Lauren ventured into the on-demand space last year with its Custom Packable Jacket, making it one of the first major fashion houses to apply the process to outerwear.
What are the benefits of product personalization?
Builds customer loyalty
When a consumer personalizes a product, it turns them from a passive buyer to an active buyer. They are now contributing to the process of developing the product, which increases their satisfaction and consequently builds customer loyalty. Personalizing a product establishes a connection between your brand and the consumer, which also improves customer retention.
Generates word-of-mouth marketing
Due to the novelty of a custom product, it is a natural conversation-starter and something that can be instantly shareable on social media. Because the consumer was also a part of the developing process, they are more likely emotionally invested in the product as well, making them more inclined to share with friends and family.
Drives more sales
At the end of the day, the most important thing for any business is the bottom line. 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 online store
Step 1: Decide if product customization is your core business model or if it’s an added service. This will help you shape how you market this service to your customers.
Step 2: Establish the parameters of customization. What items can the consumer customize? Can they choose the accent and base color? Can they upload a photo of their pet or loved one? You can either allow a consumer to fully customize the product from top to bottom or offer more minor customizations based on your business’ bandwidth and needs.
Like with any print-on-demand business, it’s important to incorporate your personal take with product customization. Don’t just copy what other companies are doing. If another online store only offers vector art designs of pets, differentiate your style with hand-drawn designs instead.
Step 3: Choose the design process. Once you’ve decided to incorporate product customization into your online store, 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.
How Gooten simplifies the product personalization process
At Gooten, we’ve simplified and automated the back-end fulfillment process of personalized products, saving our merchant partners countless hours of manually entering order information. Our integration also significantly reduces the possibility of human error, so that your customer receives the right order at the right place.
Here is a breakdown of how we’ve simplified the product customization process for our merchant partners:
Start growing your business and building customer loyalty with customizable products! Questions on how to offer customization in your store? Check out our Support Center article here with a step-by-step guide on how to implement personalized products in your store today.