Personalizing Ecommerce

| By: Abena Gyebi

Amongst the growing mass of etailers, online merchants offer Customized Products to stand apart

Ecommerce has officially hijacked shopping and the retail industry.  According to Mashable, on average, consumers will spend $1,472 per year between now and 2016 shopping online.

In an era where ecommerce has drastically increased the options that consumers have, many merchants have turned to customized products as a way to build brand loyalty and distinguish themselves from the pack.

Think about it: what better way to give customers exactly what they want and build unshakable brand loyalty than getting them involved in production? And if you consider the pervasion of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other insta-share applications, if customers have a great experience (or a bad one at that), they’re going to tell others about it.

Offering custom products isn’t exactly new. The trend started years ago with computers and has since expanded to many other industries.  Clothing, confectionaries, even luxury brands, like Burberry and Prada, let their clients mix and match a limited selection of parts to get a unique product (limited, in order to keep the integrity brand while still giving clients options).

The market for one-of-a-kind goods is wide open. There’s just something satisfying—a sense of exclusivity—knowing that something has been made just for you and that no one else has it. In fact, one of our very first Magento customers, Golden Edibles, is an artisanal confectionary whose entire e-business relies on the appeal of custom made orders over mass-production.

But there are some obvious difficulties with selling customized orders: mainly the increased cost to the customers and increased complexity of the production process.

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Customers are quite willing to pay the premium. The personalization gives them more of a connection to the product and brand. But only if you don’t mess up their order!The price bump is simply a reflection of production costs. Not only do manufacturers have to work in small batches and have special equipment, retailers must have an intake system that accurately captures and processes all the details of a client’s request.While Converse will allow clients to choose which patterns and colors they’d like to use, customized Chuck Taylors can cost as much as 20—25% more. Likewise, M&Ms is happy to print personal messages or images on their iconic candy bits, but only for a hefty price hike of up to four times more than the mass-produced alternatives.

When Golden Edibles came to us at Corra three years ago, they needed an online store that was advanced enough to get the details of custom orders exactly right, but simple and elegant enough to maintain a luxurious user experience.  “I wanted the online experience to recreate that feeling of indulgence you get from shopping in a great specialty store,” commented Ruben Pinchanski, Founder, Golden Edibles.

On the Golden Edibles website (where customers can hop between three distinct storefronts and still check out through a shared shopping cart) customers design their own boxes of chocolates by specifying the exact quantities and types of handcrafted confections they want to include.  This information, in turn, is coordinated with packing and shipping to ensure the package gets to customers right on time.

And for customers, that’s what it’s all about—the luxurious experience of getting just what they want when they want it, and the exclusivity of having a unique product made just for them.

In spite of the added cost and complexity, M&Ms reports half a million custom orders per year.  Golden Edibles, whose site won the 2008 Interactive Media Award in ecommerce, has also had a huge number of custom orders since it’s multi-store site relaunch three years ago.

Photo via Flickr/Valerie Renee

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Corra is a digital agency creating transformative commerce experiences for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. With headquarters in New York, Los Angeles and London, Corra provides strategically led creative and technology solutions to a growing global market.