The Top 5 Myths of Customization

by / Thursday, 03 March 2016 / Published in Blog, Configurators, Latest posts
Myths of Customization

Offering custom products is a proven way to bring additional revenue and traffic back in house, and brands that do so are seeing huge results. We’ve found that custom products can account for as much as 50% of eCommerce revenue, while doubling conversion rates and dramatically increasing customer loyalty.

However, there are still some common misconceptions that we come across every day about launching customization initiatives. So here, in no particular order, are our Top 5 Myths of Customization!

Myth #1) “There’s No Money in Custom…”

More and more, consumers want to be recognized and catered to as  individuals, and that’s where customization plays a critical role. Customization offers your customers something they can only get from your owned channels, and a recent study by Deloitte found that a solid customization experience can deliver 5-8X ROI on marketing spend while boosting sales by 10% or more.

“If you offer your best selling stock items as customizable, we’ve typically seen that in the first few months they’ll account for between 10-15% of your sales,”said Jud Barr, Principal at JTB Consulting. “But that can quickly grow north to 30-40% of your eCommerce sales and even higher.”

Those numbers have been consistently validated in the marketplace; PUMA reports that custom jerseys from their Arsenal FC line have accounted for more than 60% of total orders despite costing 30% more than a standard jersey, while Chaco have built a customization practice that accounts for 30% of their total direct to consumer sales.

Myth #2) “Production Costs Are Too High/It’s Inefficient to Produce Orders of One…”

Increasingly flexible manufacturing processes and innovations such as 3D printing are enabling mass personalization at lower costs than ever while allowing manufacturers to completely rethink traditional manufacturing and supply chains. On top that, custom products command price premiums of up to 50% or more that can easily offset any additional manufacturing costs.

“It’s all about the efficiency around the manufacturing process; if you look at a bag, a shirt, or a pair of shoes, the truth is that it takes the same amount of labor to make one as it does to make a hundred,” said Jud Barr, Principal at JTB Consulting. “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, costs that are easily offset by the premiums that custom drives.”

Myth #3) “Our Customers Don’t Want It…”

Custom products are continually gaining popularity, with more than 36% of consumers reporting they are interested in personalized products or services according to a recent 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. And while clothing and accessories have been classic use cases for customized products, many other verticals are jumping on the custom product bandwagon; for example, Daihatsu has partnered with 3D printing company Stratasys to offer custom body panels, ensuring each of their Copen Roadsters is unique.

Myth #4) “Setting Up Custom Product Lines Takes Too Long…”

Customization is not a stand alone program; it is a system, with implications on front-end software implementation, manufacturing, supply chain management and other parts of your business, and success hinges on having a solid strategy. But with experienced partners and effective management, a good plan can yield rapid results. PUMA, for example, was able to take their vision of customizable Arsenal FC jerseys from inception to delivery in just three months.

Myth #5) “Custom Products Can Damage our Brand…” 

Some companies are hesitant to relinquish creative control over their products to their fans, out of fears that they will turn around and design hideous monstrosities that will damage your reputation in the market.

In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Forward thinking brands are quickly learning that customizers can be among their most creative and inspirational brand advocates and some, such as Keds, are even using custom creations to influence line production items.

“A lot of our customers were embroidering their Keds with their wedding date, or decorating them with with Sharpies, so we took what they were doing and made them an in-house offering that was even better,”said Emily Culp, CMO of Keds. “Customization allows for a conversation with your customers; instead of saying ‘here is what we have for you,’ we can now learn in realtime what would they like, so my hope is that our custom offerings will be used as a “test vehicle” to learn customer preferences that inform our main line products.”

To learn more, check out our in-depth executive briefing on the keys to launching a successful custom product line.