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Product customization: elevating your brand with 5 precious rules

Table of Contents

Product customization helps brands increase in-store and online sales. 

Nike customers configure their own shoes, Carolina Herrera customers now customize their makeup accessories and Gucci allows women to create their own personal Zumi bag
According to a Bain & Company survey, customers who had customized un product online engaged more with the company. They visited its sito web more frequently, stayed on its webpage page longer and were more loyal to the brand. 
Further details show that in footwear, for instance, customers who designed their own shoes gave companies a 50% higher Net Promoter ScoreSM (NPS®)[1] than customers who bought regular products from the same manufacturer. Higher NPS typically translates to increased sales, referrals, and lifetime customer value. 
Enabling product customization is also a way to attract the new generation of consumers. Generation Z is looking for more personalized products to build up its own unique identity. Consequently, fast fashion is losing popularity and high-quality unique personalized products are on the rise. 
As consumers design their own products, it is also a way for brands to gain insight into their target audience’s preferred styles. Information acquired this way is much more valuable than focus group insights. Indeed, in an interview, Brooks Brothers shared that what they learn from their customers in one season thanks to their customization offer is systematically used to deliver the next season’s product line. 
SmartPixels constantly provides analytics to its clients to best optimize learnings from their customization offer. 

A brand approach to customization depends on the life cycle and desired impact of offering 
From our experience in the market, we have noticed that all successful companies follow five rules for product customization

1. Clarify the goal of the customization offer 

Client-brand interaction in a store
Companies tend to deliver what they believe their customers want. Before diving into product customization for the sake of increasing sales and boosting customers’ loyalty, luxury brands should define the desired strategic value. 
Is the goal customers’ acquisition, engagement, or something else? Depending on the aim, the degree of product customization can vary from a simple personal touch on a product line to a fully made-to-order product
SmartPixels assists luxury brands at every step del process.

2. Define to what extent product customization is needed 

3D Monogramming on a berluti shoe
3D rendering with personalization feature realized by SmartPixels for Berluti
Depending on their goal, companies adopt different personalization strategies
Some luxury brands, such as Berluti, allow consumers to fully create made-to-order products.  On the other hand, some companies offer a smaller range of customization options – such as engraving initials and adjusting the colore of the shoes (e.g. Valentino Backnet).
Another option to offer clients a personal touch is through product assembly. For example, shoppers at Carolina Herrera can customize their own makeup accessories combinations. Customers buy different SKUs that are then shipped to them for assembly. This solution makes it easy for retailers as they can sell from a standard product line while making it personal for the end-user. 

3. Keep product customization simple

Interactive e-commerce configurator realized by SmartPixels for Globe-Trotter
Interactive e-commerce configurator realized by SmartPixels for Globe-Trotter
Customization can quickly become overwhelming to consumers if, for example, they are confronted with too many personalization options. 
L'industria UX design is key to creating a unique customization experience. Brands need to keep it clear, simple, and straightforward to engage their target audience. If the configurator is unattractive and confusing, many potential shoppers will be turned off. 
Limiting personalization options e clearly separating the available steps and features is an effective way to start. 

4. Allow consumers to share their Instagram-friendly product configurations

Valentino user-generated content after product customization
Valentino user-generated content after product customization
Most of the time, after personalizing their product, consumers are eager to share their creations with their friends. User-generated content also benefits brands as it enables them to engage with their current consumers and drive new ones to their websites. 
In a way, it is also a tactic to promote a customization offer to new audiences. Some companies give customers the ability to save their designs in a virtual catalog. For instance, The North Face has launched a gallery of designs created by customers for its Denali jacket, which serves as inspiration points for others. 

5. Live up to expectations and deliver a unique customization experience

Launching a customization offer is a daunting task: once the supply chain and manufacturing are in place, you will still need to drive customer engagement and show them the spectrum di available options. It also implies keeping the audience entertained while they are customizing their personal product. 
Brands that will succeed are those who know their objectives, understand to what extent they really need customization, keep things simple and create a repeatable model for delighted repeat customers.  
If you need help on the matter, do not hesitate to contact us. At SmartPixels, we help brands build innovative customization solutions online e in-store
[1] Standard way of measuring customer loyalty