It’s Time to Rethink Your Supply Chain: 36% of Consumers Want Personalized Products

by / Wednesday, 05 August 2015 / Published in Blog, E-Commerce, Latest posts, Product Customization
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Mass personalization is gaining popularity, with more than 36% of consumers reporting they are interested in personalized products or services according to a recent U.K. survey conducted by Deloitte LLP. The survey also revealed that over 40% of respondents between the ages of 16 and 30 are attracted to personalized goods and services, and 71% of these stated they would be prepared to pay a premium price.

These trends are consistently being validated in the retail marketplace. Sportswear giant PUMA recently offered customizable jerseys from their Arsenal FC line, which to date have accounted for more than half of the total orders despite costing 30% more than a standard jersey.

“If businesses can successfully add a personalization process or personal touch that consumers are seeking,” the Deloitte report states, “they can simplify their range and benefit from more predictable levels of demand, and may even command a price premium.” And increasingly, established brands and emerging retail businesses are adjusting their manufacturing practices to meet the demand for personalized products.

A great example of a brand harnessing this trend is U.K. based startup Knyttan, who recently raised $3.1M to deploy a “curated customization platform” that features a digital production system that transforms industrial knitting machines into 3D printers for clothing, allowing their customers to design and order their own personalized knitwear. By shifting to a custom-only, zero stock, on-demand method of production and distribution, Knyttan avoids costly unsold inventory and surplus manufacturing. They also spend less on costly prototyping and enjoy drastically shorter production lead times as there is no need to re-tool their manufacturing equipment as they simply upload a new design file to produce a new design.

Implementing a personalized product program is becoming easier than ever, with increasingly flexible manufacturing processes and innovations such as 3D printing enabling mass personalization at lower costs, allowing manufacturers to completely rethink traditional manufacturing and supply chains.

“If you look at a bag, a shirt, or a pair of shoes, it takes the same amount of labor to make one as it does to make a hundred; it’s all about the efficiency around that process,” said Jud Barr, Principal at JTB Consulting. “The truth is when you work with a solid production partner, you’re able to get custom production down to within 10%, and in some cases 2-3% of regular line production costs.”