Over the last few years, the wants and needs of consumers have taken a definite turn in the direction of customization. E-commerce companies, everywhere, are slowly discovering the value of offering customization along with the enormous potential that goes with it.
The ability to give a customer not just want they want but ‘exactly’ what they want, is slowly becoming an important requirement in the e-commerce market. Gone are the days of loose fitting shirts and almost-fitting pants. The mentality is why settle for anything less, when you can have perfection? Especially, when this perfection comes at an affordable price and isn’t dangling like the proverbial carrot, only in the hands of the elite few.
Studies all over the world show that a significant percentage of people are interested and would prefer customization to the usual processes. This can be seen in the way major brands are also bringing customization into play in their dealings, setting up separate websites and sections for customization options. There is an interesting and innate psychological process that goes into purchasing customized and personalized products.
The first, most obvious reason is a sense of ownership. People like to feel like they’re a part of something. When their inputs have been taking into creating a product, it makes them more attached to the product. It feels like it is ‘theirs’ rather than some impersonal product that they picked up, of which there are millions. A unique product that has been designed using the tastes and likes of an individual is sure to be more satisfactory. The shape, size, colour and more have been designed around them, rather than a perceived, imaginary customer.
Being a part of the personalization process also gives a person, a sense of importance. Their opinions, wants and needs are taken seriously and every step is tailored around them. It is a luxurious process that most people think is out of reach for them. Being able to design a product down to the smallest details is something that would make anyone feel special.
Another factor is the value we attach to a customized product. The ‘luxury’ of being able to customize a product makes us value such a product, more than we would for a product that was off the shelves. Having something tailored around your tasted is something that we think of as a luxury, only for the supremely rich. The idea that it’s possible to customize more that printed t-shirts was something that no one really considered. And even when people realise it is a possibility, they usually come up with excuses, citing price or other possible issues that could arise. But more and more people have started to see that it is indeed possible to have your cake and eat it, so to speak.
All these factors mean that people are more likely to pay more for a customized product. When people have put in the thought and effort into customization, it automatically has more value in their head. While they are willing to, most people are surprised by how reasonable the prices are in terms of getting products customize. It is not some exorbitant, far-fetched idea. It is a completely reachable goal. This being said, there is a fine line to be tread. People like to be involved but only up to a point. If they find that they have to make too much effort, there are most likely to go back to window shopping. It is up to the e-commerce company to maintain the balance between involved and too involved and effort and too much effort.
Customization and personalization has gone from a pipe dream to an actual possibility. People never showed much interest because it never seemed too plausible to be able to be involved in the process of creating a product. The easy customization of posters and tee shirts was all that people considered and even that seemed like a cheap and easy option. With the advent of e-commerce and the development of technology, it has become possible to tailor-make products with little effort at a reasonable price with minimum hassle. It is time to move on from the overdone world of mass production and to move into the world of personalization, where anything and everything can have your name on it.
Rajh is a serial entrepreneur with ventures in knowledge process outsourcing, hospitality, retail, IT and e-commerce. He has over 25 years of corporate experience and expertise in key roles of leadership, strategy, planning & management. Rajh is especially skilled at developing new profit centers within scheduled timelines and costs while ensuring operational efficiencies through long-term strategic planning. His core expertise includes delivering customized and cost-effective solutions to meet the operational and financial goals of the organization and its stakeholders. Rajh holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of Mumbai.