Mug engraving, t-shirt color and material, and palette pickers—what do these three have in common? Each of them is an option given to customers who buy mugs, t-shirts, and make-up palettes.
In short, they’re customization options, and they’re examples of a practice that offers ways to make mass-produced products unique and fitting to a customer’s taste.
The U.S. has been an economy built on standardized goods. It’s strange to think of custom mug engraving as an indication of a new era, but it is a result of the current trend of customization. Gone are the days of people automatically picking blank mugs to give away at their annual conferences. Businesses now want their logos laser engraved on their giveaways to make their brand stand out.
However, customization has always been part of human history—mass production and economic depression just made it the exception and not the rule. Simple machines like grindstones and carving tools allowed craftsmen to make one-of-a-kind products and paints ensured that each canvas bore a different scenario. The only surefire way to mass-produce objects was through casts, molds, engraving plates, and later, the printing press.
As technology progressed, mass production became easier and cheaper than producing unique items. Large items had millions of replacement parts on hand; smaller items could be replaced easily. The value of the irreplaceable increased. Businesses cottoned on to this fact and began mass customization.
Customization vs. Personalization
Customization and personalization are usually synonymous. The subtle difference lies with who is doing the modifications to the product.
In personalization, the company modifies the product according to user preferences. Companies achieve that by combing through user-generated data to personalize the products and services they present to users.
The customer takes the metaphorical driver’s seat in customization. Manually choosing the material, font, and size of t-shirts count as customization; so does picking the type of exhaust, chassis, wheels, suspension, and other parts of a car.
Higher Prices, High ROI
Studies indicate that one in three customers has interest in customization; one in two consumers believes customization can create great gifts, and one in six people has bought customized goods. Going off this, you can assume that more people believe they can give better gifts if they go to a mug engraving service than just buy a plain old mug or one with a tired logo from the shop.
Customization is popular for many reasons and one of them is the sense of having a product that is truly yours. Consumers enjoy having a hand in what they create. And as producers, companies have vested interests in having customers enjoy the process of buying from them.
An immediate benefit for companies is the unique price range they can offer for customized products. When one in five consumers is ready to pay 20 percent more than the usual price, that’s quite the boost to per unit sales. Since 42 percent of customers still want the guidance of brands in customization, savvy businesses can lead customers to combinations of options.
Making consumers feel in charge is also a great way to build customer loyalty. They’ll want to stick with a trusted brand that will give the options they want and probably offer more later.
When you start providing customized options to your customers, try your best to not get carried away. The main reason to offer these choices in the first place is to increase your profit. Offer customizations that your company is capable of producing without breaking the budget per item. Standing out from the crowd in terms of customer options and profit is possible.