Mass production assumes that one size fits all. Mass customization, or product customization, is all about challenging that idea. It means profiting from the fact that all people are different and serving them appropriately according to their needs.
In this article we will define product customization, explain why it mathers and discover 20 examples of businesses innovating with this process.
What is product customization?
Product customization is the offering of products meeting the demands of each individual customer, but which still can be produced and delivered with mass production efficiency.
This definition is from Frank Piller, Professor of Management at RWTH Aachen University, who is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization and personalization.
Another expert in the field, B. Joseph Pine II, defines product customization as the low-cost, high-volume, efficient production of individually customized goods.
Why product customization?
Product customization makes sense because consumers have individual needs and tastes, and they expect products that meet these unique needs.
Today’s 25-40’s are a core group of people buying custom products. They are they are used to shopping online and they have been customizing items inside video games since their childhood. That is why customizing products is natural for them.
Players can customize their rocket-powered car in the massively popular Rocket League game.
The joy of co-creation
With customization, consumers are actively taking part in a playful co-design process that enables them to build a product that really meets their individual preferences.
This active role is appreciated by consumers. In fact, much of the additional benefit of a product customization comes from this creation process as from the resulting outcome, the custom product itself.
Increased engagement time
According to Google Benchmarking, in 2019 the ‘Average Time on Page’ for e-commerce websites was only 38 seconds. However, it's a fact that sales increase when people spend more time on a page. Offering engaging experiences like product customization is an excellent way to keep the shopper interacting with a product and boost sales.
Increased profit margins
As Olivier Scalabre, explains in is Ted Talk, advances in manufacturing now make it possible to produce fully customized goods for about the same cost as a mass produced ones. When you combine this information with the fact that 1 in 5 consumers are willing to pay 20% more for a personalized or exclusive product, the financial opportunity becomes very clear.
An eco-friendly process
Last but not least, product customization might be more environmental friendly. "Made To Order" or "Production On Demand" promises to reduce carbon footprint and waste to a minimum. By only producing the exact amount of stock needed for an order, businesses are able to significantly reduce their production emissions. Additionally, because of an increased personal attachment with products they customized, people would be less likely get rid of them.
20 product customization examples
Most businesses can benefit from product customization. Here are 20 examples of companies innovating with product customization, sorted by category.
Hall of Frame Custom Cartier
Purse For The People
Getting started with product customization
Offering product customization is more accessible than ever.
On the manufacturing side of things, more and more generic suppliers are now making it possible to outsource custom manufacturing.
On the ecommerce side of things, building a product customizer used to require a large investment. Thanks to SaaS solutions like Kickflip, creating a compelling product customizer to sell customized goods is now easy and affordable.