In the era of the customer, shoppers dictate what they want and how they want it. Today’s customers are intelligent, more market-aware, and have higher expectations. Empowered by digital devices and social networks, these customers want the opportunity to participate in the design process of the products and services they wish to purchase.
Research from 2015 suggests that one out of every three customers would like the ability to personalize the product that they are considering to purchase and will search for this ability when shopping. Fashion retailers are increasingly recognizing this emerging consumer demand and have begun to offer customized products and services. From RedThread using body-scanning technology to offer best-fit clothing to Louis Vuitton’s “Now Yours” customization service that allows customers to add a personal touch to their sneakers, several great examples have surfaced in the recent past that demonstrate how retailers are innovating customer experience to cater to the growing demand of personalization.
Delivering mass customization through technology
Mass customization is no longer an idea of the future; it has become a competitive requirement in today’s retail landscape. Most customers prefer to pay for customized products that allow them to express their individuality. Businesses need to leverage technology to offer product personalization at scale while also turning a profit.
In the past, it took several days or weeks to design and produce bespoke items, which increased costs and severely limited the output that a business could sustain. However, several modern technologies like direct-to-fabric printing, machine learning & AI, and 3D printing are now enabling affordable mass customization. These enabling technologies are disrupting the retail market and introducing new ways of giving customers the personalized experience they want.
Harnessing analytics for effective personalization
A successful product personalization service must include the options that your customers want. People would never come to your hundred-flavor ice cream parlor if they didn’t like any of the flavors. But how do you know which product features your customers want to customize? Which options should you offer for each product feature?
Before you begin offering personalized products, it is important to learn more about your customer. Advanced data analytics tools provide comprehensive, 360-degree customer visibility by mining actionable information about your customers through their past purchases and social media activity. Applying machine learning to these data reveals general trends and preferences that you can use to direct your product development efforts.
These tools can also be applied individually to each customer’s history to automatically generate designs that match their unique tastes. Imagine receiving an email every month from your favorite brand that offered you clothes designed just for you – their cut, fit, material, and color is just perfect for you. You’d be a loyal customer for life! The real value of personalization services is the enormous increase in customer lifetime value. Extending machine learning to MRP can help ensure that available inventory is sufficient to fulfill varying customer demand.
Retailers in general and fashion businesses in particular should invest in digital solutions that help them rapidly adapt to these changes in the retail market. HauteLogic, Visionet’s innovative solution for fashion and apparel businesses, is a cutting-edge end-to-end solution that combines machine learning, advanced analytics, partner communication, and eCommerce functionality to manage every aspect of your fashion business including planning, design, production, and distribution. Learn more about HauteLogic and discover how it can help you thrive in the age of disruption.