The growing trend and need for manufacturers and service providers is to create individualized customer experiences.
Over the years, the focus on standardization through mass manufacturing has shifted to personalization through automation and smart manufacturing. This is best described by Henry Ford’s famous quote of the last century “You can get Ford T of any colour, provided that the colour is black” versus DC Design’s (Dilip Chhabria Design) positioning of “…crafted especially for you, like a bespoke Italian suit.”
Welcome to the world of hyper-personalization – it’s like going to a paint store and creating your own shade of blue rather than having to choose from the shade card. Powered by data, hyper-personalization combines curation with personalization to create customized user experiences specifically around individual customer preferences.
DC Design shows how, and how much, it has customized cars, trucks and even airplanes to suit client specifications. It’s about individual tastes and personalities. It’s about how much of your personality you want to see reflected in the products you own and invest in.
Prior to personalization, modularity was one of the approaches that manufacturing companies adopted to give customers the benefits of selecting from product variants that suit their requirements and budget. The modular approach builds on subassemblies that can be configured in various ways to broaden the product line, offer a more customized product, and reduce manufacturing costs.
Dell is often cited as an example of a successful ‘configured to order’ model. Dell allowed customers to choose from multiple options for their own computers on the Dell website, and only then was the computer assembled and shipped.
HfS Research believes that Industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution) - the coming together of many technologies in manufacturing to create “smart” factories with “significantly high efficiency, productivity, quality, and flexibility than the current state” - will enable mass customization in manufacturing.
Yes, hyper personalization is seen disrupting almost every industry today. So what’s driving this trend? Well, it’s almost everything we see happening today that’s driving hyper personalization: Big data and predictive analytics, cloud computing, the internet of things, design thinking, social media and yes, 3D printing too. It’s the integration of all these new technologies with the virtually boundless potential of cloud computing that allows for endless number of options for customization, and (hyper) personalization!
With so much emphasis on customer data, security and privacy infringement are major concerns that stare manufacturers and customers in the eye. While every industry is trying to establish a set of standards to ensure security in an increasingly digitalized world, this still remains a vacuous space with manufacturers and users alike, on where to draw the line – when it comes to soliciting, and sharing personal data.
In the quest for that hyper personalized user experience, it depends on how much personal data the manufacturer solicits, the intention for soliciting the same, and how willing the customer is to share that level of personal data.
Customers today are very well-informed and knowledgeable about what they want. In some cases, the customer knows more about the product than the manufacturer. There’s a paradigm shift: Earlier, products were first made, and customers subsequently found use for the products.
In today’s scenario, and especially in the light of a swelling population of Millennials (read creative, informed, picky), expectations of the desired uniqueness-quotient, and user-experience are first set or envisaged, around which products get developed.
The expectations of younger, more connected consumers have driven manufacturers to create the desired user experience. It’s evident that leading companies today have begun the journey toward hyper-personalization, enabled by the power of new technologies and the availability of a wide spectrum of user-data across channels.
This personalization has become more of a best practice in software services. The way in which Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have begun directing personalized searches, products, and news feeds has led to a phenomenon of hyper-personalization that categorizes users into neatly defined clusters based on their search history, buying behavior, and social trending. The recommendations from their platforms has resulted in accelerated buying of music from iTunes, products from Amazon, etc.
Adidas, which has partnered with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based start up to develop 3D printed soles for the new line of shoes Adidas plans to launch it later this year. Using a new technology called ‘digital light synthesis’, Carbon is able to 3D print flexible and durable midsoles, that will help Adidas save time and money in production, while allowing for greater customization. Adidas eventually plans to use this technology to customize shoes for individual consumers!
Hyper-personalization enables consumers to have products especially curated and tailor-made to their exact specifications. The element of uniqueness, and the associated perks of belonging to a “core circle”, drives advocacy and demand. The simplicity of the user-experiences has customers coming back for more. With prices that are in line as well, hyper personalization makes for a compelling case.