While the steady growth of e-commerce has been thoroughly researched, suffice it to say that from a customer’s perspective online shopping gives you a wider variety of items to choose from, cheaper prices and the comfort of not having to leave your home.
Even though U.S. online sales are not growing by double-digits anymore, experts foresee that in 2018 they will exceed $400 billion USD, according to reports.
I dare say, most of us share the impression that nowadays there is next to nothing that you cannot buy online. Given the ease of online shopping, a customer’s loyalty to established retailers is a mere shadow of what is used to be.
Of course, impulse purchases still happen in those beautiful stores and great customer service will always provide a more memorable shopping experience than having a parcel dropped off by the mailman.
“If we want something that we cannot get anywhere else we probably are willing to pay a little extra. This thinking has led to the latest trend in e-commerce – online customization.”
But due to the common combination of restricted budgets and grand shopping ambitions, it is very likely if a certain product can be found online, we will hold off on our final purchase decision to find out whether there is a way to pay less for it.
Sure, it feels a little bit like cheating to first get advice from your local retailer and then go home and buy those sneakers at Nike.com because they offer a better price and have that extra color in stock. But that’s the economy. With all the changes in consumer shopping behaviors, showrooming isn’t likely to end anytime soon.
Such things happen much less frequently when we think about non-standardized products. If we want something that we cannot get anywhere else we probably are willing to pay a little extra. This thinking has led to the latest trend in e-commerce – online customization.
Online Personalization On the Rise
Online customization means giving online customers the chance to influence various aspects of a product, thereby personalizing it. Personalized products are nothing new. In fact before the industrial revolution and modern mass production, most of the more expensive products were commissioned and tradesmen took great care to take their customers’ needs into consideration.
Such an individualization of products requires that customer needs are correctly recognized and subsequently taken into consideration during production. This always required some degree of interaction between the producer of goods and the customer and in turn tended to restrict the geographical distance between these two in the past.
Thanks to the Internet, companies can overcome these limitations and even save on staffing costs because online customers deal with automated services. Companies successful in offering online customization services usually employ an intuitive and cleverly designed online configuration that gives users as much freedom as possible, while at the same time effectively guiding them through the process in a playful manner.
Business Benefits of Personalization
Even though online customization is a relatively new trend, companies already offer a wide range of personalized products online. Studies have shown a massive increase in purchase frequency and average purchase price as a result of offering customizable products online.
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