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To sell more products, inspire your customers with personalized or customized options.

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A growing group of consumers, 26.4% of US Households, purchased personalized or customized products last year. Product customization has become a fantastically lucrative strategy for brands that embrace it.

custom products

However, there is quite a bit of variation among these customizers. Which makes sense. Customizers are unique thinkers by definition. It takes a flexible approach to engage them all.

Whether personalizers, decorators, or more advanced customizers, all could use a little prompting. Suggestive selling can inspire them to try something new.

Starting Points is a suggestive selling feature for your ecommerce site that inspires customers with examples of possible customizations. 

Built into JTB Custom’s product customization platform, Starting Points is a way to encourage every type of customizer to get in on the fun or dig in a little more – helping you to capture more business.

You have three types of customizers to engage.

Suggestive selling helps you engage all three groups of customizers. This is who they are, and how far they typically take product customization, in ascending order:

• Personalizers – Simple add-ons.
• Decorators – More complex design alterations.
• (Advanced) Customizers – Fully custom designs, including functional alterations.

Each group, which includes consumers (B2C sales) and purchasers (B2B sales), has its own set of expectations for customization options. And is willing to spend different amounts of time and money to get there.

As a brand that’s eager to win with customization, your job is to spark the imagination. The more imaginative your audiences are with their customizations, the deeper their relationships are with your brand, and the more profitable the order is for you.

It pays to inspire customers to try customization or to advance to higher levels of customization.

As a full 36 percent of consumers now seek custom products, simply offering the ability to customize is a great start to meet consumer (and business) demand.

And it’s worthwhile to note that the customizers willing to pay the most – up to a 20 percent upcharge or more – to customize a product are at the top of the pyramid.

(Our research and experience with brands like insulated tumbler maker Corkcicle indicate you can price customized products even higher. With enough customization, a $32 tumbler may end up at $50 – a 56-percent upcharge!)

Inspiration is the key to moving customizers into higher price points. And from one customizer group to the next level up.

Your custom product lines will be most successful when you inspire personalizers to experiment with decoration, and your decorators to become advanced customizers.

Furthermore, consider the potential customizer outside of the 36 percent. What does it take to inspire them to get on board?

Dropping an idea right into their head, of course.

“Here is our customizable dessert menu. May we suggest …?”

If you’ve ever had a server suggest a twist or addition to your order, based on personal experience or because other guests like it, you get the gist of Starting Points.

As a guest, you may not know you can request changes to your order. Or, you may be aware of the option, but don’t know where to start. The server makes the suggestion to give you an idea to work with.

In an ecommerce transaction, Starting Points are automated customization suggestions. They are the online equivalent of the server putting a word picture in your head of what your dish could be with a little flair.

These could be images of custom designs created by your own design team (“We’ve tried the dish this way and prefer it”) or by other customizers (“Other guests tried this and raved about it”).

B2C Example: DIY with guidance.

Volcom, popular skate, swimwear, and outwear brand, has a custom products tool on their website that they call the DIY Machine. It allows consumers to select shirt color and size, and to select designs and placement, all within the online configurator.

But not everyone has as clear a vision as the advanced customizer, so they also provide a section of Starting Points they call “DIY’d for you.” It’s chock full of t-shirts in a variety of colors, seasonal designs, and cheeky text, all created by Volcom designers.

It presents the consumer with ideas of what might work well within the brand’s cultural tone. They can either take the suggestion at face value, or they can go back to the DIY Machine and put their own twist on it.

PRO TIP: Allowing consumers to purchase the customized item before you have produced it gives them more choice without you having to take the inventory risk. We call this virtual merchandising.

B2B Example: Unique gift shop souvenirs.

Gift company DEMDACO (dem-day-koh) is a wholesaler that also offers custom products direct to consumers and businesses. You may not have heard of them, but they supply many of the custom souvenirs you’ve bought or seen in gift shops at national parks.

Purchasers with organizations that operate gift shops – parks, museums, amusement parks, zoos, etc. – are able to place custom orders through the DEMDACO B2B site powered by JTB Custom’s SilhouetteTM.

Just having this process automated is wonderful for purchasers. It eliminates all the back-and-forth that is common to placing custom orders by phone and email. 

In addition, Starting Points provides pre-packaged combinations of products. These suggestions stimulate purchasers with new merchandising ideas, helping to guide the purchase decision and saving them decision-making time.

Starting Points also shows you what’s trending.

In addition to encouraging high-revenue custom product orders, the Starting Points feature offers another terrific benefit to you. It’s a powerful research tool.

Suggested custom designs typically do not yet exist at scale in the real world, if at all. But Starting Points data can help you decide whether mass production is warranted.

As you track how many times suggestions are viewed or purchased, you can use this data as an invaluable guide for inline product development. It could be a window into what you’ll add to next year’s spring line, for example.

Go ahead and inspire them with Starting Points for custom products. We’ll handle the follow-through.

Online configurators that feature Starting Points are powerful engagement tools, but the front end is only part of the customer experience.

JTB Custom can help as much or more with the backend. We can help you:

• Employ lean manufacturing techniques that make rapid production and delivery of made-to-order custom products a reality.
• Process custom orders and transfer them efficiently to the factory floor.
• Seamlessly integrate product configuration with order processing through one platform, Silhouette.

In short, we can make it easier than you think to build out a profitable product customization program.

JTB Custom has helped major brands engineer comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to delight customers with custom products. We can help you, too.

Talk to an expert today.

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