How To Personalize Products Customers Actually Want

by MR Magazine Staff

In the future, all your clothes will be custom-made. So will your car. So, most likely, will the computer you work on, the sunglasses you wear, the cup of tea you drink in the morning, and the bed you crawl into at night. Personalization is the next decade’s inevitable trend in consumer goods and services, in part because new technology, from flexible robotic systems to 3-D scanning and modeling, is making mass customization cheaper. Brands are realizing the opportunity to leverage a wealth of newly accessible consumer information and preferences. It’s never been easier for a company to learn what you’d like to fine-tune; acting on it effectively, however, is another story. One thing we’ve learned, through observation and professional experience, is that personalization can be a double-edged sword: it’s so tempting to customize everything that options can spiral out of control, leaving you with products that are an expensive, complicated mess. Such was the case when Puma flirted with Mongolian BBQ, a now-defunct offering where consumers could personalize shoes by selecting from myriad colors, parts, and fabric textures, much like masterminding your own Mongolian barbecue meal. The platform was confusing, leaving people bewildered as to what they would finally receive, at the end of a tedious, pricey, and complicated user experience. And yet other brands have found success. Read more at Fast Company.