Are Customizable Supply Chains The New Thing?

In past years, products have started to become customizable and personalized, which is a huge demand by the grand majority of customers. With today’s technology people have become growingly accustomed to tweaking products to their needs and companies have had to stay up with the times. Since this is the new trend, it’s no surprise companies are jumping at the chance to be innovative and follow the trend. Companies from all consumer industries are now customizing their products from cars to mobile phones to clothing. The need to personalize not only creates a loyalty with the brand but also increasing the sense of ownership of the product itself. It is evident that most companies will turn to personalization and customization as a way to update their business, as well as their supply chain, which you can read more about on the David Kiger Blog, and there is enough data out there to demonstrate the benefits of making this business move. So, if it’s not a question of deciding to personalize your product, then it will come down to how to do it. Supply chains initially thrive on the fact of manufacturing batches of products at a time and finding ways to profit from the efficiency of this process, so how will it all work when you can only make one product at a time because of customization. As the number of customers that want personalized products continues to increase companies will need to figure out how to adjust their supply chain to accommodate to this up and coming trend while staying true to the core of the business and not disrupting it to the point that it can no longer be efficient or effective.

Analysis of whether your business should start to customize goods?

Customers are seeking the personal touch on their products and this gives them the sensation of greater ownership and increase in loyalty towards the brand itself. The level of customization will depend on what you want your final outcomes to be, but at the end of the day, you need to analyze your market and your customers to weigh the different values you could offer them. There are tons of examples out there of companies who have managed to do this process successfully and reap the benefits of customer satisfaction. You can begin your personalization level at the gift wrapping or packaging experience, which is one of the most affordable and simplest things to add to your supply chain. Your customers purchasing experience will be completely transformed with this simple addition, and not only during the holiday season but the rest of the year as well. Another simple step you can take is temporary personalization with stickers or decals. Of course, one of the most common ones is customizing colors of products, or engraving, screenprinting or embroidery of certain products. Once you’ve decided the different ways you could personalize your customers’ experience while they are shopping, especially for online stores, now you can focus on how to actually get it done. So, it’s already clear that personalizing can be great for your business, but carefully decide how it will better benefit your business.

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Image courtesy of Multnomah County Library at Flickr.com

 

How to actually make the shift?

The companies that have come before you in customizing products usually follow these rules to make sure it doesn’t turn into chaos. First of all, make sure you know what you want. Engaging your customers in just the right way will be key to not conflicting with your company’s strategic value. Once you understand this, you’ll need to analyze just how much you need to customize and how you can creatively create the sensation of customization. The core of the process will be to keep it simple. Of course, there’s an obvious risk to personalizing your products and it’s that everything will get complicated fast. It needs to be simple on both ends, where clients can personalize easily and with a friendly interface, but at the same time, the requests they make can easily be executed on the backend. A great thing to keep in mind is that their feeling of ownership over this particular product will lead them to want to share their creations with friends and family. So allow them the way of doing this to increase their user experience and let me at the same time help you promote your product and service. Lastly, whatever you do don’t disappoint your customers. If you decide to take on a specific customization on a product or service, it’ll be essential that you follow through because now the customer’s expectation will be elevated and you’ll need to prove your worth.

The era of design-it-yourself is upon us and diversity will shake every link of the supply chain, so be prepared and make sure you and your complete supply chain are ready for it.

* Featured Image courtesy of Chika Watanabe at Flickr.com

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