It’s Personal: The Business of Customizing

The phrase “business is business” connotes the idea of isolating business from emotions. Yet, contrary to this phrase, a successful business is something that triggers a sense of deep feeling and connection to its consumers. A way to do so is by customizing.

Customization is a growing business trend that sparks interest among customers. By using this marketing and branding strategy, consumers feel seen; companies employing customization make their target market feel special. By taking advantage of this trend, companies gain an edge on their business against competitors.

Personalization versus Customization

Both personalization and customization have one goal — to deliver customer satisfaction. Yet, what separates the two is how businesses deliver the customer’s needs. On the one hand, personalization is implicit; companies use research and data gathered to modify a consumer’s experience. It does not entail asking a customer what he or she needs from the business.

Meanwhile, customization is within the customer’s control and is, therefore, explicit. By actively asking a consumer what he or she needs, the company delivers products or services based on their individual preferences.

For this article, we touch on both and how companies use them in their products.

Big brands

The New York Times reported that not only start-ups but also big brands give in to the customization trend. These companies offer personalized product options and increase revenue. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce added that companies like Starbucks see value in personalization. The easiest and most recognizable personalization tactic of the brand is by writing each customer’s name on every cup.

Coca-Cola also used personalization as a marketing strategy. In its “Share A Coke” campaign in 2014, it made bottles with popular names; this made people buy Coke with their names on it or share it with their loved ones.

Customization, on the other hand, is used by car businesses like Tesla. The company offers customers the freedom to design their cars. Nike, in its “Nike By You” campaign, allowed the customers to design their own shoes.

Custom products

brand concept

There are businesses that deal specifically with custom products. Unlike Tesla and Nike, these companies, which are usually start-ups, focus on producing entirely personalized products. These specific businesses offer items, including customized furniture, clothes, shoes, accessories, and even customized homes.

All items and products from these businesses are made to order and are specifically crafted to fit a customer’s personality. The best products to customize are those with flat surfaces; it includes mugs, key holders, and water bottles. However, the easiest ones to customize are shirts. Cotton shirts, in particular, are durable and never go out of style. This is why a lot of entrepreneurs venture into the custom-shirt printing business.

Businesses offering customized products do well in different cultures, too. For instance, custom couple shirts are a hit in Asian countries like Korea. In Europe, customized shirts with a fan’s favorite sports team are a hit.

Things to consider

Should you consider venturing into the customization business, the first thing you need to answer is the question, “Why?” The answer to this must be something that gives value to your business. It can be to increase the number of new customers or add customer satisfaction; your goal can also be to make your business grow.

Having a target gives your business some direction. It also defines your business and gives it an identity, which are also essential in attracting customers.

If you’re planning to start a business dealing with customizing clothes, shoes, or bags, find materials that will last. You don’t want to offer customers a product with prints that easily wash away or disappear. This may only cause you to lose your customers’ trust. As this business is very personal, you may not be surprised if the customers who get this kind of product take it personally, too.

One way to avoid this is by using heat transfer vinyl (HTV). This material helps you in customizing products with clear and striking images that last. To be more economical, it is helpful to buy HTV in bulk. This also allows you to be ready for the demands of your consumers.

As the pandemic is still affecting most countries, it is also important to customize your business to keep up with the times. In the United States, for instance, customized designs can be sent by customers through a mobile app. The finished product is then delivered right at the customer’s doorsteps.

Why customize

Ultimately, the reason is personal. By customizing your business, you create a personal relationship between you and your customers. This simple strategy makes your business indispensable.

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