Now we’d call that “mass customisation” which, according to the recent “Made-to-order: The rise of mass personalisation” report* from Deloitte, is one of the three distinct degrees of product and service personalisation. The report is definitely worth a read in full but here’s our summary of those three types and examples of each that we particularly like;
Like the Ford, where products are mass produced and so the unit cost is kept low, but the consumer has opportunity to pick and choose from a range of elements, mass customisation is definitely making its mark on fashion.
Nike pioneered the approach as long ago as 1999 with its NikeiD digital customisation platform. Customers get to configure their trainers choosing from a range of materials in a whole host of colours. A little while later in 2005, Converse launched a similar customisation service with both brands reporting a sizeable chunk of revenue being attributed to sales of these “new frontier” made-to-suit (as opposed to made-to-order) products.
Unique products and services which are tailored to the nth degree – think luxury holidays with handpicked destinations and accommodation, made-to-measure suits, written for purpose software solutions, etc. - are said to be bespoke and so the ultimate in personalisation.
The Burberry name is synonymous with high end luxury and all of its premium products come with a premium price tag. Raising the bar still further, it has recently launched a service where customers can buy bags and coats completely made to order. Coming with nameplates attached, once the item has been delivered, the customer can access a video detailing the design and pattern-cutting process and showing their own item being “crafted”!
Data-reliant, mass personalisation gives customers the opportunity to “put their own stamp” on a product. Like only pink M&M'S® and fancy a bag with your name (and even face) on ‘em? Why not? Looking to get in a teacher’s good books for the next school term? How about a personalised “thank you” bar of chocolate? Digital production has made these gifts not only possible but, working with a supplier who understands data, accessible for all.
We’re right up there on that score ourselves. Currently in the middle of a project for breakfast giant Kelloggs, we’re laser-engraving and shipping personalised spoons to its cereal-loving customers across Europe and the Middle East.
So, as you eat your favourite breakfast with a personalised spoon, before you don your bespoke Burberry coat, lace up your customised Converse sneakers and jump in your JIT Ford Fiesta to head off to work, you can do it in full confidence that nowhere on the planet is there someone else doing it in exactly the same way as you!