From improving the function of a product to creating a unique selling point for the brand, customisation is a key opportunity to engage with customers on a deeper level. This month’s Hotlist investigates the role of customisation in adding value to products, services and brand experiences.
Building an emotional relationship via product customisation
64 per cent of customers want personalised offers from retail brands (Salesforce, 2018), and we are increasingly seeing brands offer product customisation options, from personalised messages on packaging to print-in-store clothing and accessories. Diners at Tiger Street Lab in Singapore’s Jewel Changi airport can use touchscreens to select a design to personalise their beer bottle, with labels printed on the spot. While this does little to improve the function of the product it extends the experience around the product and fosters an emotional attachment to the beverage’s brand. Appropriate to its airport location, the offer also capitalises on tourists’ desire to take home a memorable souvenir or gift.
To appeal to a broader range of customers, offering different tiers of customisation will ensure there is an accessible option for everyone. LEGO does this well, offering a range of products to customise, that vary in price and dwell time required. At its London flagship, customers can assemble their dream LEGO box at the Pick A Brick Wall in minutes. For a more high-tech customisation experience, customers can purchase a LEGO version of their face at the Mosaic Centre. This product is considerably more expensive, and its limited availability means that customers are encouraged to book ahead to ensure access to this intensely personalised product. Clearly communicating the availability of personalised offers limits room for disappointment and increases the likelihood of purchase.
Engaging the individual with personalised services
Advances in science and technology have expanded the realms of personalisation possible, offering brands deeper insight into customers’ wants and needs. There has been a growing interest in DNA-fuelled personalisation, with AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing Ethnicity kit emerging as Amazon’s best-selling product on Cyber Monday last year. (Retail Week, 2019) Tapping into this growing interest in personal heritage, direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe has partnered with Airbnb to pair participants with homes and experiences in their country of ancestry. When customers receive their 23andMe DNA report, they can also explore Airbnb’s selection of local cultural experiences and create a personalised a travel itinerary to discover their heritage. When it comes DNA personalisation, the biggest obstacle is gaining a customers’ trust. Newer brands can build trust through partnerships with well-established companies that have proven expertise and knowledge. The 23andMe x Airbnb partnership is a win-win for both; 23andMe can extend its offer to broader audiences and Airbnb is able to deepen its customer relationships.
The uptake of personalised services is contingent on whether the offer adds additional value to the customer. L’Oréal found that 70 per cent of people who purchase a hair colour in store are disappointed with the result (L’Oréal, 2019). To remedy this, the brand has created Color&Co, a virtual consultation platform where customers can receive custom hair colour formulas along with on-demand advice from stylists. Customers are also guaranteed money back if they’re unhappy with the product. The success of the service will depend on staff expertise and as services become more individualised, investing in proper employee support and training will be invaluable.
Personalising the store experience with location-based customisation
When offering personalised services and products, it is important to consider these touchpoints as part of the entire customer purchase journey, rather than an add-on to the brand experience. Tiffany & Co.’s new store in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood not only features product customisation experiences inside the store, but the entire experience itself is customised to the Tokyo neighbourhood. The Cat Street location is celebrated through products, communication and packaging, from the sign ‘Greetings from Tokyo’ upon entry, to the cat illustrations on packaging in the Tiffany Café, and exclusive charms engraved with the Tiffany @ Cat Street logo.
When we designed the Amazon Treasure Truck, we wanted to create a global brand experience that simultaneously provided an authentic, local retail presence. We balanced a strong core brand expression with elements of local customisation through bespoke illustrations for each truck. We commissioned Seattle artist Kyler Martz to create curious illustrations, for each of the 37 trucks. The illustrations celebrate the history and culture of each neighbourhood, from the Georgia peach to the Manchester worker bee. This gives each truck a unique identity that encourages social shares, while still having impact and recognisability.
Ultimately, the most successful brand experiences will take into consideration customisation on all levels, from personalising products and services for individuals to localising brand experiences to geographical locations. When done right, customisation is not only a great way to not only upsell, but to drive dwell time and brand engagement too.
To discuss how we can customise your brand experience get in touch with Michelle at [email protected].
Images Courtesy of Afar, Digital Spy and Allure.