Understanding Mass Customization: Benefits and Challenges

Take a while and dive into the dynamics of mass customization

Sometimes consumers have their own customization needs for a particular product. Companies often take mass customization as a middle ground. Businesses with mass customization facilities cater to consumers’ custom needs. It allows consumers to alter a specific product and service at their discretion.

What is Mass Customization?

Mass customization in business refers to the ability to customize products and services. It offers customized production of goods and services as per consumer requirements. The change could be as small as changing color or as complex as changing an entire product. Companies tend to keep the price of production low or equal to the cost of mass production.

This strategy applies to many industries but does well in the retail sector.

Understanding Mass Customization

For a basic understanding, take the example of a fashion label. Usually, big fashion and apparel brands offer a made-to-order option. People with customization needs approach those brands and tell them about their requirements. After understanding the customization requirements, brands provide a quote. For brands, it is imperative to keep the cost close to that of mass-produced products.

Sometimes, customization components are modular, which is helpful to clients. This will allow them to mix and match specific options to create the final product.

As discussed above, mass customization applies to different industries. Talking of sectors, we have seen it implemented in the apparel and IT industries. IT engineers use this method to offer customized products to end users. This customization allows users to alter any specific feature of a product.

Source: EasyHR

Goal of Mass customization

The goal of mass customization is to provide the customer with a customized end-product. It is also critical for the brand that its customers are satisfied with the product. Brands should customize their products in a way that strengthens the relationship between them and their customers. 

Mass Customization is a Set of Interlinked Activities

The process of mass customization is a set of activities. These activities take an individual’s customized requirements and turn them into the final product. Companies also offer their clients different product innovation ideas. The innovative toolkit sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Mass customization achieves its goal once the client receives the final product. The goal becomes successful if the end product meets the requirements, too, at a low cost.

Modularity customization allows customers to customize their products in different varieties. It enables the company to offer various product variants while keeping costs low.

Businesses also use other concepts to enhance the re-usability of customized end products.

How to Adopt Mass Customization for Your Business

Collaborative Customization

Sometimes consumers need clarification to articulate or specify what they want. Under collaborative customization, companies assist customers in defining their customization needs. Companies offer a range of product ideas and options to choose from. It is imperative to identify your customers’ needs before offering them suggestions. You can interact with clients through research and dialogue. It will help your business determine the areas where change is most needed.

Adaptive Customization

In this type of customization, companies manufacture one end product that users can customize. Under this approach, the product is introduced to all consumers. Later, consumers can alter the product as per their requirements. With the technology available, you can keep the entire architecture the same. But you can change specific functions according to your needs. Brands need to provide the most suitable alternatives to the consumer.

Cosmetic Customization

This customization allows businesses to alter how the product is advertised. It means companies advertise the end product rather than customizing the product. Some consumers want the same product but with different packaging. The standardized product remains the same but is presented differently. Clients receive substantial value from it. Cosmetic customization is usually reserved for promotional items. For instance, the company promotes product attributes differently.

Transparent Customization

Companies customize products for clients without directly communicating with them. In this case, the client does not share or inform them of their requirements. The company itself recognizes the needs of the client and customizes them accordingly. This customization works well for a company when it knows its customers’ preferences. You need to know the aesthetics that your target audience wants from your company. It will help you in manufacturing products that don’t need any customization. This way, it will also fulfill the needs of your customers.

Benefits of Mass Customization

Enhance Customer Satisfaction

When a consumer receives a product as directed, it encourages a higher satisfaction level. Offering customized products and services with top-notch results improves the company’s reputation. A company needs to meet its clients’ requirements by delivering on time. Customers should feel they have received a product worth their time and money. The higher the consumer satisfaction level, the more likely consumers will stay engaged with the company. By doing this, they will start trusting word-of-mouth and UGC, which are valuable for every business.

Increased Revenue

We know the fact that customization comes with slightly increased costs. Changes to a final product often consume the company’s time and resources. In that case, the company charges high prices for its products and services. The cost of customized products is usually high, but companies try to keep it low. Personalized components are included in the company’s price strategy. In this way, mass customization is considered the most ideal upsell.

For instance, Apple offers a customization option once the product is assembled. The strategy can be applied to small businesses.

Better Inventory Management

Mass customization also aids in better inventory management for companies. Products with customization require just-in-time delivery to the end user. In this way, it will reduce inventory storage and management and also save overhead costs.

Real World Examples of Mass Customization

HP Technology Company

A computer technology company maintains its relationship with its consumers and stakeholders. It helps it identify its customers’ needs and wants for specific products and services. It collects data through research and allows its consumers to customize. Also, it quickly customizes and assembles pieces. The company implements made-to-order due to its modularity and web-based order processing features.

Netflix Customizing Your Watch History

Another fine and prominent example is the streaming service Netflix. If you use Netflix streaming services, it picks up your preferences for what you watch. It will customize your dashboard if you watch horror flicks more than any other genre. But how? It customizes your board by showing more horror content based on your watch history.

Nike Lets You Be Your Own Designer

Nike is a popular and recognized footwear brand around the world. It has set the standard for personalized products. This brand offers high customization options for its customers. It allows its customers to customize their footwear. It provides the ability to create in terms of color, material and function. Once it receives customization orders, it manufactures large quantities in its factories. Since Nike entered the e-commerce business, it has offered three levels of customization.

Ford Mass Customization is Going Next Level 

Automaker companies usually sell high performance tires, sound systems in their aftermarket. Seeing an opportunity in the booming accessories market, Ford announced customized accessories. Now the company will use these accessories at its factory to value its customer’s needs. The company believes that this is a great way for consumers to get fresh and exciting products faster. 

Ralph Lauren, a High-End Customization King 

Ralph Lauren, a high-end fashion brand, allows its customers to personalize items. Starting this move in 2018, the brand invited people to take part in customization. From bathrobes to baby outfits to its iconic polo shirt, customization is available for all. 

Create Your Own Design

We have seen the ‘Create your own design’ trend becoming popular among consumers. From apparel to lifestyle products, consumers can create their own designs. It helps brands in lowering their inventory and boosting the confidence of consumers.

Why Do Millennials Want More Product Customization?

Millennials are tech-savvy and want to stand out among a competitive crowd. This behavior of millennials drives mass customization of products. Research shows that Gen-Z has a personal and unique relationship with brands. Keeping this in mind, brands offer more personalized solutions to this generation, as mentioned in the above examples. Their ever-changing demands increase their potential to buy customized products. By offering unique customization options, companies allow millennials to become ambassadors.

Challenges of Mass Customization

  • It necessitates an adaptable manufacturing technique. Creating such technology can be costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, certain processes are more adaptable and easier to automate than others. It varies from customization to customization.
  •  This strategy is suitable for luxury brands that can afford high expenditure of mass production. The processes of personalization are crafted on a large scale. It passes through different steps and procedures to become a final product. 
  • Product optimization can be tough in an e-commerce business. It is not easy to apply and get through it. The target audience for mass manufacturers is more than just recognizing differences. Marketers must also identify comparable wants. 
  • During product development for mass production, the emphasis is mostly on design originality. This results in designs with a high degree of distinctiveness or the inclusion of low-cost informal elements.

The Future of Mass Customization

As a result of growing demand, mass customization will likely replace mass production. Businesses have started encouraging mass customization as it lowers production costs. With the economic downturn, many companies would appreciate reducing waste expenditure. More and more businesses are introducing personalized product lines for their customers. It will lead to more customer satisfaction and engagement with the company.

Featured Image: Swiss Direct Marketing

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