We live in the age of individuality. No longer is it popular to be following the norm, and looking like everyone else. Consumers want to stand out and have their individual style acknowledged.
For many established brands, this poses a problem, as they have refined the mass production of their products to a fine art - but this is no longer the way to reach the masses. Instead, brands now have to work at finding cost effective and timeous methods to provide each customer with their own unique experience.
Personalisation vs customisation
There are two broad paths that brands can now follow in order to fulfil this need of the consumers to express their individualism - en masse.
1. Personalisation - this is the practice of using digital technology to allow each customer their own personal shopping experience. This practice is all about centring on the individual, and ensuring that they feel special and important to the brand. This means that the brand doesn't need to change their product offering, just their service and customer experience around it.
2. Customisation - the other option is for brands to focus on allowing customers to customise the product they will eventually purchase. This has a huge appeal to the current market, who wants to know that they have something that no one else owns, and they are also more likely than not to be prepared to pay extra for that fact.
It may seem like both of these exercises are big undertakings, but in reality, once the framework is in place, the rewards will far outweigh the initial cost. Customers will soon realise which stores are offering them a richer, more personalised interaction, and will reward these stores with their loyalty.
The Omni-channel experience
Effective personalisation needs to take into account the fact that consumers can approach a brand from many different directions these days. It's because of this fact that brands need to ensure that the personal experience that they represent to the consumer on one point of contact is mirrored on every other platform that the consumer can come into contact with.
There is also a huge benefit for businesses keeping an eye on their different customer channels, as they can then map out the different paths customers take in their interactions with the brand and use this data to enrich the consumer's experience further.
New technology creating an enabling environment
First new technological innovations enabled mass production, which changed the face of production - now technology is flipping the business of production on its head yet again, this time by allowing the quick and cost-effective customisation of unique products for every customer.
Thanks to new manufacturing technologies, enterprise solutions, online configuration tools, biometrics, and 3D digital modelling, retailers are able to offer individual customisation both online and in-store to customers ready to make their individual style known to the world.
By acknowledging the customer as their own person, with unique tastes and needs, brands and retailers will not only gain popularity, but also loyalty, which is essentially what keeps a company in business at the end of the day.
To read more about how we applied the five disruptive forces into the Retail Industry visit DigitLab for the latest #DigitLabInsight "The Future State of Retail