Personalization is all the rage. The web makes it easy to allow consumers to build exactly what they want. And manufacturers are increasingly willing to charge a premium to give consumers what they want.
Not every company is jumping on the personalization bandwagon. Apple, the undisputed king of consumer products, offers very few options. But I wonder if the true motivation for customization is sales or simply customer engagement. How many consumers complete the personalization process and purchase their product? Most of these sites allow the user to post their custom order to their Facebook or other social media profile. Even if the customer doesn’t complete the purchase, the act of personalization and sharing probably helps connect the brand with consumer.
Below are a few sites that I’ve run across lately that do personalization well. These are all Flash-based sites so if you have an iPhone or iPad (or you just don’t like Flash), you are out of luck.
I’m looking for a new messenger bag for my laptop and iPad. While looking, I came across Timbuk2 which lets you order a bag with custom fabrics. In playing with the website, I made some nice looking bags (and some really, really ugly bags).
Shoes: Converse and Nike
Of course, customization isn’t limited to the messenger bags. Converse allows you to design custom Chuck Taylor shoes – mixing and matching solid colors and prints.
Nike also allows extensive personalization of their shoes and clothing as well with their Nike ID site. Nike is one of the first companies that I can remember offering a service like this.
Lots of car companies allow you to customize your car, but Mini takes the personalization even further. The Mini USA site allows you to customize a car design and send the specs to a dealer. You can change the colors, the interior finished and all sorts of details.