Today, customers expect companies to tailor their products or services specifically for everyone. In the online world, e-commerce websites will adapt their recommendations according to what you’ve already bought. Even the shows you decide to watch on TV will determine what Netflix adds to your watch list.
Bricks and mortar retail businesses are beginning to offer the same experience, where shoppers can buy products customised especially for them. This level of personalisation doesn’t just give the customer what they want – it also creates a closer bond between the brand and the consumer.
Brands are very aware that personalisation creates value for customers, but it’s not just huge high-street names that are generating revenue from product customisation. It’s easier than ever to start a business, since online stores remove overheads associated with the traditional retail model. Here are some more reasons why product personalisation is taking over.
1. Generate more sales
Personalising products doesn’t just help increase sales, it also keeps your customers satisfied, which promotes loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.
A study by Deloitte suggests that, on average, in different retail sectors, 36% of consumers would consider buying customised products or services. If that figure surprises you, just listen to this:1 in 5 of these consumers would be willing to pay 20% more for a personalised or exclusive product! This indicates a shift in consumer mentality away from monetary cost, and towards inherent value.
In addition, 48% of customers would be willing to wait longer for a customised product or service. This means that while their personalised product is being created, customers have more time to browse and possibly even generate more sales.
2. Increase the profit margin
Before it was possible to quickly create custom products, businesses would stockpile products in bulk from a third-party manufacturer. That they might not sell was a risk that they just had to take.
With in-house digital printing machines, it’s no longer necessary to print hundreds of thousands of identical items in the hope of making a profit. If you have a desktop UV LED printer, you can print very short runs of personalised items without the steep overheads of outsourcing the work.
3. Stand out from the competition
Picture the scene: a town has two clothes stores, both of which sell t-shirts. In the first, you can choose a design from a catalogue of 100 different images and patterns, all beautifully designed by talented graphic designers. In the second shop, however, there is no catalogue – you can walk in and ask for any image you want – a photo of your nan for her 90th birthday, a cartoon of you as a superhero doodled by your niece, or just the words “do not disturb”. Given the choice, most people will choose to shop at store #2 and get their dream t-shirt, safe in the knowledge that nobody else has the same one. If you can offer unique products, custom-designed for each client, it’ll make a big difference in the decision-making process.
4. No need for higher inventory costs
You don’t need to trash your existing business model to tap into the personalisation market. There’s no need to throw out all your stock and buy a fresh batch. With a little ingenuity, you can customise the same items you already sell, simply by adding a special little touch. But that doesn’t mean you have to stockpile versions of your product – you can customise a single product as each order comes in.
For example, if you sell leather handbags, you could use a UV LED printer to print directly onto the leather, or you could use a desktop impact engraver to personalise stitch-on metal plates. With either option, you’ve made a relatively small investment that lets you increase the mark-up on your existing products.
5. Better customer insight
Customer data, consumer trends and buying habits are strong tools to have in any business arsenal. Having your own means of gaining an insight can give you a strong competitive advantage. Business without a product personalisation offering can only gather data on the items they have in stock. If they allow their customers to customise the products, they can know their customers in ways their competitors can’t come close to.
With technologies like CRM and data analytics, companies can save the information of each customer and use it to offer products or services adapted to their tastes and preferences. Good personalisation goes hand in hand with analytical technology. Who knows - in the future, artificial intelligence might let companies use their customers’ personalisation habits to anticipate the next big sales trend.
6. Increase customer loyalty
When they can personalise products according to their tastes, your customers get exactly what they want, and their satisfaction level goes up to eleven! They see the product as a unique item, with added value and designed to meet their specific needs. It is an adaptation to the consumer at the highest level and, of course, it’s one of the best ways to build loyalty.
If your customer feels like they have your undivided attention, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase or to establish a lasting relationship with the brand. Once they have that connection with your brand, your competitors will have to try even harder to get their attention.
7. Power the online business
In recent years sales in physical stores have been decreasing. This is largely due to the pressure of online stores who don’t have the same overheads and can offer cheaper products in a more convenient way. Also, with faster, more responsive websites, it’s easier to access the products, compare them and buy them; while in physical stores the buyer always has to search to find the best offer.
According to a recent study by Invesp Consulting, 59% of buyers find the products they want more easily in personalised online stores. In addition, 53% say that online stores with product customisation offer better services.
Offering fully customised products turns online shopping into a unique experience, adapting your online store according to the interests of each customer and increasing the conversion of each visit to a sale.
At Roland DG, we’ve seen countless start-ups become highly profitable businesses after investing in digital printing equipment. Many of these entrepreneurs are pleasantly surprised at how fast they can see a return on investment, but when you consider the advantages of product customisation, it makes perfect sense.