08 Apr Customization: The front row seats of e-commerce
madeone CEO Christian Möhring sharing his perspective on customization:
If you ever watched a live sports, music or entertainment event in front row, you have had an experience which brought you closer to the players, musicians or actors. A deeper and more personal product experience which you have carried home, kept in mind and which your are more willing to share with others. It was worth the invest.
Over years of being obsessed about customization in e-commerce I came to the conclusion that you can compare this experience with the opportunity to customize your individual products. People are watching the exact same game but they have bought tickets to a richer and a more personal experience. They are willing to wait to catch a front row seat and they are willing to pay significantly more to get one. If you compare this with the fundamentals in e-commerce you immediately realize that customization is a different field of play. Nowadays it’s way harder to come up with profitable and scalable e-commerce business models. Products can not be market to a recommended retail price but have to be discounted from day one, in order to ensure visibility on the various product search engines or shopping platforms like the one Jeff Bezos is squeezing out to the max these days. Customers have learned that convenience plays a major role when buying online. Services, like next day, same day or within 2 hours delivery is the new benchmark for new e-commerce businesses. No matter if you like it or not, when you want to sell your beautifully designed or value adding products online, it’s living reality. E-commerce is lacking profitability and this is driven by players like Amazon.
From my perspective customization is a smart and innovative way out of this dilemma and will help to transform many e-commerce business models moving forward. Customized products can be your front row tickets to offer to customers, not just to add a profitable dimension to your business but also to deepen the relationship with your customers big time. A customization service can without any doubt, based on my experiences, add huge value to who you are as a company and how you are able to operate your business.
For me customization, and with that a more personalized product and service experience, is the indisputable future of e-commerce. Let me tell you why: If you look at marketing we can see that this field has been transformed forever. We know our customers better than ever before. The opportunities to personalize your marketing efforts are endless and they grew massive over the last couple of years. In addition there are many digital solutions to personalize your on-site experience and beyond; for example Dynamic Yield. But what are we able to offer people? A curated assortment, a product recommendation, a nice tip? We are lagging on the actual product experience. It’s a fact. Does it really help me to see the 17 items which fit me best out of the category ‘Biographies & Memoirs’? What does it tell me about the company who wants to sell me one of these 17 items? Do they really care about me and my needs?
During my time at Nike I was part of the strategy development and execution of ‚Know me to serve me.‘ A huge part of this customer relationship strategy was obviously customer data and how to work with it more efficiently in the future but there was more to it. ‚Know me to serve me.‘ ultimately incorporates a 1:1 customer relationship as well as 1:1 product experience. Nike has started and built it’s business on exactly that: The best possible product for the individual athlete. Customization is in core of what Nike does and this will help Nike to continue to transform their business and to drive innovation.
At my own company madeone, we can see more and more front row seats opening up in e-commerce over the next years and we truly believe that customized product experiences, no matter if digital or physical, will represent the bright future of e-commerce. Time has come.