Have It Your Way: The Big Opportunity in Providing Customizable Products and SolutionsPosted: 20/04/2016 12:00am
Customization, or the practice of offering consumers the ability to tailor products to their liking before purchasing them, is beginning to dramatically alter manufacturing and revolutionize business. The dawn of technology has introduced a new type of consumer; one who demands products tailored to the individual specifications. 65% of corporate execs said rising customer expectations had increased pressure to innovate, and 58% said the same about competition with other companies (Lithium). Even if they are not yet customizing products, consumers are able to customize other aspects of their experience when shopping online these days. They are shifting their expectations from mass production to customizable products/experiences and businesses need to adapt to these demands or risk losing valuable business.
I want it NOW!
‘One size fits all’ is no longer relevant and could prove a costly mistake for those who choose not to adapt. Customers expect it their way and are willing to pay extra for customized products as a means of self-expression. Forrester reported that over 30 million U.S. citizens have a blog online, giving each of these consumers the ability to voice their opinion. With over 1 million web pages connected to Facebook or other social media sites, opinions and integration of comments into brand identities are rapidly increasing. Additionally, in a study from LIM College, 74% of respondents stated that one of the ways brands can remain millennials’ brand of choice is by improving design/style to reflect their uniqueness and 66% of millennials may have abandoned what had been their brand of choice because the brand no longer fit their identity. In the technological age, new consumers are focusing their opinions on tangible products from businesses that offer this same source of expression.
In addition to being a new source of revenue, customization is also a new form of loyalty program for businesses. Customers are more likely to be repeat purchasers and brand advocates when they are able to create their own unique product or configuration. In a Branderati study, 25% of people choose to engage with brands because they want to join the community of like-minded fans. Additionally, 66% of consumers cite features, design and quality of product or service as the leading factor that determined brand loyalty (Support.com). Giving customers the opportunity to engage with the brand by building their own product suite is now one of the most common and easiest forms of engagement.
Access to Unlimited Consumer Data
Not only is there value from a customer perspective when given the ability to create custom and unique products, but there’s a benefit for businesses as well. With personalization comes very extensive data information that allows retailers to get ahead of trends and tailor their product lines. In a world where the fastest reactions give retailers the strongest advantage, we now have the ability to use big data to adapt to consumer demands more quickly and efficiently. Companies can predict trends and prepare for future demand by stocking up on the appropriate products and delivering them to the right channels.
More importantly, the cost of offering customizable products is significantly lower than it was in older days of manufacturing. According to a 2011 Forrester Report, what used to cost companies $1 mil and 9 months to develop/manufacture now costs $50 000 and 2 months to build. At the same time, technology is becoming more advanced, allowing businesses to build sophisticated yet easy to use interfaces for consumers to co-create products. Between the customer experience and business offerings, we truly are on the verge of seeing mass customization provide a viable alternative to the process of mass production.
How Cortex Offers Customization to Customers on the Network
Cortex is the leading provider of e-invoicing services with extensive customizable solutions and product features. With immediate sign-up, your company receives access to our Trading Partner Network which includes the ability to create your own Company Profile. You can include basic information (company address, contact information, company logo, etc.) as well as specific information about the type of work you perform, operating locations, etc. This information is then searchable from the Network tab and puts you in immediate contact with other Buyers and Suppliers in your industry. With data populated by over 10,000 trading partners on the network, you’re able to customize your search and make the right type of connection for your business. No other solution puts you in the driver seat and allows you the freedom to connect and interact with your personally developed invoicing network.
With 3 main connection types, customers have the ability to choose their own connection methods and tailor their solution to fit their business needs. For smaller businesses, Workbench is a cloud-based connectivity option that allows customers full input control over their document entry. Workbench Enhanced is the same easy to use application but with options for pre-loaded templates to make entry faster and more accurate. Machine-to-Machine allows customers to take the guess work out of document exchange with a fully automated, configured solution.
Whether you’re a small business or a large company with a full ERP system, Cortex has the ability to scale our solution and provide your business with the ability to choose the right level of connectivity for your e-invoicing needs.