How mass customization helps businesses convert more users?

  • 2017-02-06
How mass customization helps businesses convert more users

Customer choice has increased steadily since Henry Ford’s Model T, when buyers could pick any color car - as long as it was black. Shopping has reached a level of sophistication where customers can choose merchandise in almost any color, size, shape they want, and with it the experience takes longer and becomes more complex.

Sellers have to meet needs fast and meet them correctly. Technology has reached a level of sophistication where it can produce individualized mass customization. So, for example, mass-produced shirts and shoes can be made to fit your body size.

The benefits of mass customization are compelling. We have identified six areas how this technological innovation can help you.

1. Speed

Speed

As 2016 drew to a close, Maddy Hubbard, Marketing Programme Manager at Aspect Software predicted that, if anything was important, it was speed in meeting customers’ needs: “Companies will need to engage customers with self-service and cutting-edge technologies that provide fast, accurate service on the communication channels customers want to use.”

With configuration tools, today's super-busy customers collaborate with the manufacturing process so they get precisely what they’ve ordered in record time. This reduces wait-time for consumers and subsequently increases their satisfaction.

2. Price transparency

Price transparency

Customers can see how different item selections impact their final price. This way, there are no “hidden fees” for the product and it is easier to upsell. Price transparency suits the marketing concept of “documentation”, which provides relevant content as an immersive, “in-the-moment” experience.

Interestingly, too, Forbes research shows that when a company selling prescription glasses, for example, shows how much it costs for frames, lenses, tinting, shipping and so forth, the customer is more likely to buy. Customers tend to rate the company more honest, since they see the company divulge intimate details, which makes the business more vulnerable and likeable. Companies can use this likeability to solicit feedback for marketing, innovation, and improvement projects.

3. Produce less. Sell more.

Produce less

2017 is your year for cost control. Rising prices, shifting markets, uncertain economic and political conditions, and global competition have made cost reduction a crucial target.

Cost management, says Brian Stewart, CEO of The Keystone Group, a management consulting firm, is the least glamorous, most important task that is often neglected at the company’s peril.

Mass customization tools help you control manufacturing costs by accurately predicting customer variables and placing these materials in your storehouse. In this way, you can make small batch production for mass customization profitable by correctly managing prices and material ahead of time.

4. Customer/Process Collaboration

Customer Process Collaboration

At one time, translating an individualized order from a single customer into assembly instructions for warehouse and production workers was challenging. Now, customers collaborate to produce a faster, more accurate result.

A company's relationships with its customers is much more than reducing wait-time or resolving complaints. McKinsey’s Harald Fanderl and Nicolas Maechler say it’s about centering customers needs and ensuring the customer is involved in company planning from beginning to end. The more customer/company touch-points there are the better.

Mass customization tools provide endless touch-points where customer collaborates with company every step of the way.

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5. High-level Involvement

High level Involvement

In their 2012 book, Marketing Principles, Tanner and Raymond write that there are different levels of involvement in any buying decision. The higher the level of involvement, namely the more clients are involved in creating and choosing their own products, the more likely they are to buy it. This is because customers have invested more time and risk into the decision-making process.

Note that although the configuration process entails complex high-level involvement, it is still simple and user-friendly.

6. Mass customization tools do not require huge investment

Online stores have the challenge of meeting mass needs in a personalized manner. Investing in one of these products like product customizer is relatively cheap. Your guaranteed profit makes it worthwhile.

For instance, Styku, a leader in digitally capturing and viewing consumers in 3D, reported that its configuration technology helped it become “Seventy-six percent more precise than measurements from the most skilled hand-measuring experts.” Recently, Styku calculated that its technology helped it shrink total hardware costs to under $3000!

Bottom Line

Allowing customers to configure their needs helps marketing (since customers are involved and give you feedback). It saves you waste (since you order precisely what customers report they want). It saves you money and time, thereby making your organization more lean since customers collaborate with devising, producing, and finalizing the product. Mass customization can also generate valuable data that can be used in product improvement and marketing.

At the end of the day, you gain far, far more than what it costs you to invest in the technology.

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