In recent decades, the world has thrived on mass production. However, changing consumer behaviors and generational mindsets is creating a shift away from the manufacturing methods of the recent past.
Millennials and Gen Z have surpassed Baby Boomers and Generation X in buying power. These generations prioritize sustainable manufacturing habits and prefer something more personal from the companies that they deem worthy of their money. As such, mass customization is the answer.
Here are five benefits of mass customization that can make your company more competitive.
Mass Production vs. Mass Customization
Before exploring the benefits of mass customization, it’s important to understand the difference between this concept and mass production.
With mass production, the goal is to make as many identical products as efficiently as possible. The main goal is quantity. Everyone who purchases mass-produced products gets the same thing, with few customizations beyond generic sizing or pre-set spec variations.
Mass customization still prioritizes quantity and efficiency but offers more variation and customization to consumers. The core product offering remains unchanged, but there’s room for differentiation.
Consider the difference between purchasing a package of ice cream treats versus visiting the local ice cream stand. When you buy a box of ice cream treats, you’re choosing a set flavor arrangement that’s been pre-packaged and prepared for mass consumption.
When you go to the ice cream stand, there may only be six flavors to choose from, but you can alter the combinations and determine how many scoops you have to create a more customized product to your tastes.
Now that you have a better idea of what mass customization is, here are the five benefits that can make your company more competitive.
Become More Profitable With Mass Customization
The ultimate goal for any business is to become more profitable without sacrificing the integrity of the offering. With mass customization, your company can do just that; you can charge more for mass customization while keeping production costs relatively unchanged.
For example, your 3D printed jewelry company may have a variety of Ponoko Ideas to choose from, offering the same base products. You could offer customers the ability to choose their birthstone or engrave their name into the piece. The core design remains the same with just a few small adjustments during the latter part of the manufacturing process.
The company will also become more profitable through better customer retention and repeat sales.
Collect More Customer Data
Another benefit of mass customization is the option to capture more customer data. Data is everything in modern business and can shape your future offerings to improve your profits over time.
Nike has become an industry leader in introducing mass customization. When a customer orders a pair of shoes, the core designs remain the same. However, they have the option to pay a premium to have custom lettering or imagery added to the shoe.
When customers input this information, they’re sharing more data about their likes and preferences, allowing Nike to create more personalized offers in the future. The more personal the offerings, the more likely the customer will take advantage of them.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Personalization and mass customization also leads to improved customer satisfaction, particularly in the fashion industry. Keep in mind that it used to be common practice to have clothing tailored and crafted to one’s unique body measurements.
Customers who feel a deeper connection with the product, whether by having the unique color and pattern they like or feeling like their clothing is more flattering, are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase.
Mass customization improves efficiency across the board. With mass customization (rather than pure customization), products can be produced to near completion then customized in the final moments of manufacturing. This creates efficiency in the delivery process, as well as inventory management.
Finally, having customization options will help your brand stand out in the crowd. Your unique selling proposition (USP) will be the uniqueness you offer to customers.
This, combined with the other benefits of mass customization on this list, will make your company more competitive.