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The Customization Craze

Posted by Pamela Swift in Business Trends

In past generations, having a customized, tailored article of clothing was a luxury, which not many could afford.  Going to a tailor or seamstress to create a one-of-a kind piece was reserved for highly specialized occasions, or for the very wealthy.

However, with advanced technology, a new trend has emerged: customization. The customization craze is taking almost every industry by storm, from athletic shoes, clothing, t-shirts, purses handbags, and even cookware and furniture.  Items can either be fully customized, or be created using mass customization.  When a customer purchases an item using mass customization, the user is able to choose from a list of styles and options to make the item unique and highly individualized.

However, the customization craze does not stop at mass customization.  A fully customized item can also be available.  Some designer lines are now offering customers the ability to create a fully customized item online using their interactive online services, or even an iPhone application.  Not only is the item itself highly customized, but the way in which we even order the item is just as specialized.

Ordering a highly customized item can be attractive to those who use social media or crowdsourcing to recommend items.  Crowdsourcing involves asking large groups of people, usually on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, advice about products.  Users are also able to show off a customized item that they created and bought online using an interactive tool.  This indirectly creates a word-of-mouth advertisement for the item.  Friends, and other users of the site, are able to not only see the product, but may want to purchase a similar item for themselves.  Keeping up with the Jones is now high-tech and digital!

Technology has now enabled customized t-shirts to be either fully or partially customized at an affordable price.  Many websites now offer customers the ability to create customized t-shirts in large or small quantities for affordable prices.  Although this trend has been available for quite some time, customers are now able to customize their t-shirts, ordering in very small quantities.  For example, using an interactive tool on the company’s website, customers can now create a t-shirt with a personal picture, logo, or statement, and order just one shirt.

Existing and start-up companies may wish to consider cashing in on this customization craze.  Companies which already are well-established into the market, like Nike, have begun offering customers the ability to mass customize some of their existing lines, adding specialized colors, materials, and engraving.  This allows such companies to charge full retail price for the item, bringing in customers who may have been previously using discount websites.

Everyone seems to love a unique, highly customized item which they can create using a fun, interactive online tool or application.  Even if the customized item means that the customer will have to pay a full, retail amount, the price seems to be well-worth it, when showing off the item in social media sites or other gatherings.  Customization, it seems, is the wave of the future.

Article contributed by Jenna Smith



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