It begins with the tiniest twist in the original sandwich – just having the garlic mayo replace the old chili sauce at the top. But it makes the whole difference right? It makes me love my deli more, first because they actually made an effort to make it my way, and then because it makes me feel like I’ve just created my own unique sandwich recipe, not written in any menu.

It even makes no difference if it’s that good or not, it might just be that the chili sauce on top is the perfect component for the other ingredients. But all that doesn’t matter- because it’s mine, it is now my own deli sandwich with the garlic mayo on top… yeah! I’ll definitely go back to that deli… but what’s really the attraction here?

Customization- the new trend on the block, or is it that new..?

My satisfaction from that sandwich is by no means news to the deli industry just as it isn’t news to the fashion and design industry, the auto and sports industry and many others – boutique shopping is what defines our contemporary consumption culture.

And with the digital age bringing the gospel of Big Data with it, it is no longer a trend for the boutique shops alone, but for the entire business world including online commerce. To put it simply, the concept of personalizing your shopping experience came to be what we know today as online customization.

But this is hardly a new trend; it actually goes a long way back to what we used to know as the only shopping experience, before mass production ever came our way; it used to be that boutique shops were the only shops available. Then came along mass production and changed the face of our consumption culture.

So- neglect mass production and go with the customization trend alone?

The answer is absolutely not-

To speak to someone about customization click here.

Customization doesn’t replace your standard product lines, it complements them. What’s happening now isn’t some retro trend aimed to take us back to the 50’s- but rather a combination between two massive dynamics- mass production and personalized shopping; and what’s truly fascinating to see is how these two work together to boost brand awareness and increase sales by intensifying customer loyalty.

Let’s take a look at how this works-

We see returning customers thanks to a number of causes. But it would probably be safe to say they all converge into 3 main elements:

  1. Quality products
  2. A good, dedicated customer service
  3. An authentic, or an interesting experience

So far, mass production was able to provide with the first two elements on the list. But today, we’re interested in the last element- how you make the shopping experience into a fun, personal, authentic experience. This is exactly where customization comes in, and it is where its strength lies-

The ability to give the customers an option to customize your brand’s products, making them a little bit more of their own, closes the loop on your returning customer strategy. It takes you one step further in differentiating your brand from the competition in 3 ways:

  • Intensifies your customers’ brand loyalty. For the same reason the small modification in the sandwich makes us want to go back to that deli; it’s because we like the idea of our being able to change the product- it makes us feel like we own it, just a little more, and ties us to the brand, just a little more.
  • Creates brand awareness. Customization creates a buzz the minute our customers leave our website; because they not only feel good about the product- the sandwich might be really good or it might just be okay, but that’s not the point- it makes our customers feel better with themselves! And this is where the rub is- customization makes shopping a special experience by making the customers feel authentic, original and good with themselves! It increases their chance of coming back, but even more importantly, they’ll be sure to let everyone know of our new customized product.
  • Increases sales. Customization increases sales in two indirect ways: first, by building brand reputation which in turn leads to sales. And second, by enabling a better understanding of your customers’ preferences, which in turn enables you to fine-tune your massive product lines, making your standard products closer to real-time customers’ preferences and trends.

And as for my deli sandwich? A perfect combination of mass production with personal experience

Not only is customization and mass production not a contradiction- these two dynamics actually complement one another, and if you just learn how to collaborate between them, you can get more returning customers, a stronger brand awareness and a boost in sales.

To speak to someone about customization click here.

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