Top Five Challenges of Product Customization and How to Overcome

Top Five Challenges of Product Customization and How to Overcome

Summary

With the increasing virtualization of products and services, the need to provide outstanding customer services is now more important than ever. Many companies and industry experts suggest adopting new procedures, such as customization, to meet each and every customer request. However,due to the diverse needs of customers, this approach has become a surefire way to add unnecessary costs and complications to operations.

Companies all over the world have embraced customization. They want to provide unique value to their customers and improve the collective brand impression. The readily available technology and flexible workflows have made this possible. All this at relatively lower costs. A famous saying goes: “A double-edged sword cuts both ways.” This applies to companies offering mass customization as well. Companies have discovered that customization has some drawbacks if not many. As they get more into the business, they realize that they did not thoroughly examine the kinds of customization their customers value

The more you look into the trends, the more you find that many start-ups and established companies fail to implement product customization. While product customization seems to work well for many entrepreneurs, it also is challenging and difficult to implement. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the reasons for the failure of product customization and in what areas managers can expect the strongest resistance. We are also going to look into the mass customization advantages and disadvantages.

5 Key Benefits of Product Customization

Nowadays, brands are aware that personalization creates value for customers. Considering the opportunities it provides, it is easier to start offering product customization. Here are some more reasons why mass personalization is becoming popular:

1. Generate More Sales

Not only does the personalized product have the potential to skyrocket sales, but it also builds brand loyalty and generates word-of-mouth publicity.

Recent statistics indicate a strong consumer demand for personalized products and services. According to recent data, 83% of consumers are interested in receiving personalized promotions and discounts, though only 44% find the offers they receive relevant to their needs.

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(Source:PYMNTS)

This indicates a shift in the general consumer mentality away from the economic cost and towards the product’s inherent value. A study even shows that 48% of customers agreed they’re ready to wait longer for a customized product or service.

2. Widen the Profit Margin

Most traditional printers buy raw materials from third-party manufacturers. The traditional business model always risks businesses by stockpiling the products in bulk, with no guarantee that the entire stockpile might sell. With remote printing businesses and start-ups, entrepreneurs are no longer required to print several identical items in the hope of making a profit. Anyone with a digital printer and desktop computer can quickly print short runs of personalized items. This also minimizes outsourcing demands.

Widen the Profit Margin

3. Makes You Look Unique

Consumers surely love to shop at stores that have hundreds of different products. Let us assume there’s a store with a long-listed catalog with different images and patterns of its products. There’s another store where they could just walk in and ask for products with any image they want, such as a quote, a cartoon, a superhero character, a family photo, and so on.

Given a choice, most people will always choose the latter one to get their dream product design. This proves to be extremely lucrative for the companies offering customization. Clients are more likely to see these businesses as unique and out of the box. This can make a huge difference in their buying decision-making process.

You can also allow them to customize the products themselves and deliver a next-level engaging experience. This can easily be done with the help of product designer software.

If you want to get into customization but are unsure how to go about it, here’s a tip: You can offer customization for the products that you already sell.

With either option, you have to make a relatively small investment that would allow you to increase the markup on your existing products.

Check more details about PrintXpand Customization Software to design your products. It is a fully responsive designer tool and is perfect for creating personalized designs on every printable material.

 

4. Branch out Your Existing Printing Business

The biggest benefit of product customization is that existing print companies do not need to trash their business model or throw out all the existing equipment to buy fresh ones. All they need to do is branch out of their existing business and increase their inventory.

All they will need is a product customization tool to design your ideas. They may require software like a print job manager, ERP manager, inventory manager, etc. It all boils down to individual needs. Print ERP software can help you easily manage the existing and new functions that are introduced after you decide to go for customization.

Thus, web-to-print solutions make integrating customization into your existing product line very convenient. These solutions include everything from a designer tool for effortless customization to print ERP software for efficiently managing your entire printing firm.

Supercharge your print business with Print ERP and revolutionize your product customization.

 

 

5. Increase Customer Loyalty

Product customization is one of the best ways to build brand loyalty. It results in positive experiences that have led to 20% higher customer satisfaction rates and a 10 to 15% boost in sales conversion rates. When customers can personalize products according to their taste, they get exactly what they want, and their satisfaction level goes up to 101! They see the product as a unique item, with added value made just for them! If your customers feel they have your undivided attention, they will likely establish a lasting relationship with your brand.

Customer data can work wonders for you, too. Knowing consumer trends and buying habits is a powerful tool in any business. Customer insights give you a strong competitive advantage. Normal businesses can only gather data and feedback on their stock items. Product customization gives you an edge. You can know your customers in ways their competitors can’t come close to!

These were a few advantages of product customization. It is essential to note that despite these advantages, many mass customization businesses fail. It is important to consider these disadvantages of mass customization to prevent disasters.

Let us look closely at the challenges so that you can address them beforehand and plan accordingly.

Top 5 Challenges of Product Customization and How to Overcome

The businesses implementing product customization are getting a new rise every day. However, it consists of some demerits, too. About 20% of the printing businesses implementing large scale mass customizations go down in the first 12 months. Further, we have addressed the five main disadvantages of mass customization. This is followed by some tips and strategies to overcome these challenges.

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1. Fundamental Rethinking of Operations

The first and most important challenge that product customization enforces is the fundamental rethinking of operations. Everything from web design to order management, shipping, the manufacturing process, equipment, and so on needs replanning.

Fundamental Rethinking

Once entrepreneurs decide to include customization, they must also consider all the equipment to fulfill the customization demands. These changes need to be daccommodate accurately and must comply with industry standards. Companies need to ensure that their processes scale efficiently and are agile enough to adapt to changes that the customer demands

Let us look at an example of one of the world’s largest garden equipment manufacturers: John Deere. To keep up with evolving industry standards and customization, they started to offer more products, which eventually resulted in a proliferation of parts and processes. The company, despite being aware of this, stubbornly resisted simplifying its product offerings. Although they were able to add flexibility to their value chain, later on, this happened only after risking the company’s very survival.

How to Overcome This?

Well, there is no one perfect solution to this problem. As the mass customization industry is still growing, you may not find many plans, roadmaps, and approaches to it. Hence, research well. Take whatever information is available and make the best out of it. If you branch out of your existing printing business, make sure you decide on a budget around the new business and use it wisely. Try customizing items you sell first rather than customization new items. See how it goes. Frame a plan accordingly and flourish!

2. Costly and Tricky to Implement

While it may look good in theory, the implementation part is a tough one. Product customization on E-commerce websites is not the easiest to apply. Even many customers would not be able to follow through. With a product designer tool, it becomes more difficult to see a spike in sales. This is generally due to the wide range of options that customization provides.

The customization tools give users many options, which they may not be interested in. However, with some designer tools, you can select the features that you think are needed. You can also restrict design to selected areas of your product.

However, getting a customization platform designed specifically for your website is usually very expensive.

This is why working with experts and finding a cost-effective product designer tool is important. We have something that fits this description exactly.

Are you planning to elevate your printing process? Discover the power of our web to print services today.

 

How to Overcome This?

There is only one way to solve this problem, and that is to face it and deal with it mindfully. Many product design companies offer a SaaS-based product design tool on your website for a fixed monthly fee. You can set it up instantly on your website.

Powerful customizers like PrintXpand offer business owners control over the customization experience. Further, they offer free support, service, and upgrades for the initial few months. The biggest advantage of using a product designer tool is that scaling becomes easy. It provides the latest design features and a simple and quick upgrade whenever needed.

 

3. Manufacturing Efficiency

Setting up and implementing mass customization can alter things at a very core level of your print businesses. For each and every customized product, you will need a different logistics method as it will have its own design, shape, and size.

For a business model, it is impossible to predict all the different combinations of designs from your offerings. This enables various challenges for mass customization.

  • Production Timeline
  • The production timelines of customized products are different from regular mass-produced products. Many additional factors also contribute to extending the timeline. Such as changing the printing process to fit customized design, the time taken to convert files into printable formats, and so on.

  • Inventory Management
  • It is impossible to predict the designs that customers will order, making inventory stocking a huge challenge. If the demand exceeds your capacity, you will find yourself in a puddle of problems and lose revenue. You can stock excess inventory, but it will then include warehouse costs, too.

  • 3rd Party Vendors
  • Many businesses depend on vendors for supplies used for the production process. This demand will be variable for customization businesses, and the vendors might not be able to accommodate these orders.

How to Overcome This?

To prevent the above-mentioned three problems, you can plan the purchases by getting insights from your running business. Make a list of the percentage of raw material quantity needed instead of listing actual quantity number.

You can obtain these percentages by studying your overall trends, past order trends, and customer behavior. You can also invest in a product design tool that does this. For example, product design tools like BrushYourIdeas provide you with print-ready design files compatible with all printing methods, such as Screen Printing, DTG, Sublimation, Laser engraving, and so on.

 

 

4. Managing Customer Expectations

The print industry is highly competitive, with companies offering discounts, competitive pricing, same-day deliveries, etc. Hence, customers always expect more from your business. Mass customization increases product prices and enforces longer delivery timelines. As a result, many customers may not choose the customization process..

Further, a return policy will not be possible when you manufacture unique products for individual customers. Even if you offer flexible return policies, they would be at the cost of your product, which again might scare away some customers. With most e-commerce businesses offering a “no-questions-asked” return policy, how will you sustain it?

Managing Customer Expectations

How to Overcome This?

Customer insights can help you manage customer expectations. While writing your policies, make it clear on your website and web content that you offer a premium service with customization. This way, you can justify your pricing and production time. If you charge extra for each customization element, mention it before your customers start designing. This will save them both time and effort. Plus, customers appreciate upfront honesty and transparency.

You can also promote transparency by offering live pricing during the customization process and design preview options to edit and modify at all stages of the order. Click the link below to explore all the features of the Product Designer Tool.

 

 

5. Marketing Challenges

Marketing Challenges

For mass producers, the target group is not only about spotting differences. Marketers also need to identify similar needs. Traditional marketers often lack knowledge and tools for mass customization. They are likely to face challenges when urged to add more variety to their product lines. Marketing trends may help a little, but relying unimaginatively on the trends of the past is also not a solution.

How to Overcome This?

As the mass customization industry is still in its inception phase, few strategies exist to market these products correctly. So, we recommend you to work with experts on this. Talk to print industry experts who have been working in this area for a while and research the current trends to frame marketing strategies.

So, these were the mass customization advantages and disadvantages. If you are facing some other challenges or want more information regarding mass customization, product customization, and product design tools, 👇

 

Summing It Up

Hence, so far, we have covered the most common challenges companies face when implementing mass customization. We have also seen the advantages and disadvantages of product customization and mentioned tips to overcome challenges and ace this market.

The industry is shifting its course from a product-centric focus towards a customer-centric one. Many companies are unsuccessful in managing this change. The current print industry domain is set with a certain dominant logic. This logic is generally by the attitude and behavior of the industry’s employees. However, mass customization has shifted focus toward value creation with true customer-centricity. This requires a radical change in the management mindset, too.

Like any other enterprise, implementing mass customization in the print industry has its merits and demerits. However, by using the correct product customization tool, you can transform the mass customization scenario into a scalable and profit-generating asset.

We at PrintXpand, have experienced and skilled developers. Our developers dedicatedly work on developing the latest and robust software solutions to cater to your needs as per your business requirements. To get an in-depth understanding of our designer tool, get in touch with us!

 

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Sanjoli Jain

Sanjoli Jain

Sanjoli, an ENFJ is an engineer turned writer, with a non-binary approach towards the world. Along with a keen interest in writing, her goal is to make the intersection of art and technology coherent for our readers. She is passionate about Science, Reason and Rationality. When she is not writing, Sanjoli is often found travelling, exploring indie-pop music and watching experimental films on the internet.

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