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6 brands driving consumer engagement through customization

The availability of data and an increased purchasing power has pushed retailers to create products and services beyond the standard selection. Whilst traditionally customization was seen as a luxury feature, the democratization of fashion has led to many high street retailers offering the service as another way to engage consumers.

In today’s digital era, the abundance of data has made it easier for retailers to personalize marketing content, but this is now going one step further to individual design and styling. Consumers want products tailored to their own specific needs and style, and by offering customization, retailers can increase their value and differentiate from the competition. 

From a business perspective, offering customization can be financially rewarding too, as 1 in 5 consumers will pay a 20% premium for personalized products or services. Customization can also be a sustainable method of production, as products are created to meet the exact demand, thus minimizing the risk of excess stock. 

Meanwhile, as manufacturing processes become more sophisticated and streamlined through features like 3D printing and automation, customization is something we will see more of in the future. As we continue to watch this trend develop, here are 6 brands driving engagement  through customization.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton custom Run Away sneaker

The sneaker industry is expected to be worth $95.14billion by 2025, and Louis Vuitton is another luxury brand hoping to tap into that booming market by offering consumers customized sneakers. Consumers will have the option to customize the Run Away sneaker by changing its colour, material and stripes and for an extra personal touch, get their initials printed or hot stamped on the shoe.

Fame & Partners
Fame & Partners bridemaids dresses

Fame and Partners is a contemporary womenswear brand based in LA trying to combat overproduction in the fashion industry by offering made-to-order garments. Through their Custom Clothing studio, consumers can customize any item by choosing the silhouette, sleeve length or neckline. The brand’s strategy eliminates the need for excess stock, helping to reduce waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill. 

Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty custom hair care

This DTC beauty brand has taken over social media with its Instagrammable hair care line that target Gen Z consumers who are seeking products unique to their needs. Consumers can go online and take a quiz to determine their hair profiles, selecting up to five hair goals, ranging from color protection to curl definition. They can also choose both the scent and color of their products, creating a customized product from design to function. Each bottle is then formulated using clean ingredients, which are cruelty-free and 100% vegan.

Rapha
Rapha custom collection

Cult British brand Rapha is disrupting the cycling market by partnering with Unmade to create a customizable team collection. Customers are given the opportunity to create their own unique jersey designs, including team logos, which are then manufactured into a bespoke product. Poor user experience and long lead times are usually a set back when it comes to customization, but Unmade’s print solution allows for quick bespoke manufacturing on a smaller scale.

Puma
Puma’s new NYC flagship

To enhance customer experience in store, Puma has created an exclusive customization studio at its new flagship store in New York. Customers can customize a range of footwear and apparel using paints, patchwork, embroidery, 3D knitting, laser printing and material upcycling. The studio also collaborates with new artists on a bi-weekly basis, with Sue Tsai, BWOOD and Maria Jahnkoy being the most recent.

Levi’s
Levi’s customization patches

Levi’s brand strategy has revolved around making products your own since the original blue jean was patented in 1873. These days, many Levi’s shops have a dedicated tailor shop that can customize and repair products, such as adding patches, studs, embroidery, stencilling and distressing, so consumers can have a one-of-a-kind product. To align with its sustainability initiatives, the brand also offers a full repair service which does anything from fixing rips and holes to color fading, helping well-worn jeans gain a new lease of life.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Get influencer marketing right and you’ve got luxury e-tail sewn up, says study

Influencer marketing is increasingly important for luxury brands
Influencer marketing is increasingly important for luxury brands

Who decides what we buy online? Well, we do of course. But other people have an influence too. Friends, family, significant others, and celebs (from A-list to Z-list) can all play their part in our final e-buying decisions, as well as how we shop in physical stores.

Which is why influencer marketing is so important and is going to become even more relevant to the luxury and premium brand sectors over the next decade, global influencer marketing platform Traackr and digital marketing agency The Myndset say. They reckon influencer marketing can be a way for smaller brands to compete with the major players.

The reason is that if brands get it right, influencer marketing can be both cost effective and generally effective, reaching the parts other marketing channels can’t and at lower cost.

Myndset president Minter Dial said: “Luxury market CMOs must re-evaluate and realign budgetary spend around achieving true impact. The measurable benefits of advanced influencer marketing practice are enabling niche luxury clients to compete on a level playing field with major players…[As a result] all luxury brands can achieve compelling ROI and demonstrably increase sales, brand resonance and achieve superior insights into their valued customers.”

So how do Traackr and Myndset reach this conclusion? A recent study by McKinsey and Altagamma Foundation estimates the percentage of luxury sales made online should rise from their current 6% of total luxury sales to 18% in 2025, reaching €70bn.

And influencers are key when consumers shop online. Luxury may have been late to this, but as they realise that the future is all about the younger millennial shopper and that this shopper is fully connected, they’re racing to come up with effective influencer marketing strategies.

Luxury brands have traditionally relied heavily on expensive marketing methods such as glossy print and flashy TV campaigns, as well as creating expensive online brand experiences and spending heavily on creating beautiful stores. But achieving the personalisation, true engagement with and impact on their customers has remained difficult to achieve.

Traackr thinks they’ve been missing a trick lately with “trust [being] largely driven by peers and authoritative content” with only 3% of individuals driving 90% of conversations and impact online.

Luxury and premium brands are, of course, taking notice of this. Traackr cites an Econsultancy report on fashion and beauty. Apparently, 59% of company decision-makers are planning to boost their budgets for this area this year and Myndset research reveals 67% of luxury brands and 60% of premium brands considering digital “important to very important” in understanding their customers.

That’s because digital has been such a huge disruptor for their business. While 11% of non-premium and non-luxury companies say digital is a disruptor, 42% of luxury brands and 28% of premium brands say so. If you want to know more, the white paper can be downloaded here.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday. 

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Editor's pick technology

Smart watches to lead wearables growth in 2015 and beyond

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

apple-watch

Unit sales of smart watches are expected to grow 358% year-on-year in 2015, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The introduction of the Apple Watch as well as continuing uptake of other similar wrist-worn devices from the likes of Samsung and LG, will result in a total of 10.8m sales across the US.

The category – one of a number of wearable technologies being tracked by the CEA alongside fitness trackers and smart eyewear – will also see 470% growth in revenues year on year, to a total of $3.1bn. Combined, the industry is expected to hit $5.1bn in 2015 and up to $7.6bn in 2018.

“Once you put a big name like Apple or Samsung into the mix, [everyday consumers] start to take notice and start talking about them over coffee,” said Jack Cutts, director of business intelligence at the CEA, referring to the mass awareness of wearables ahead.

Speaking at technology trade event CES, he suggested these devices – smart watches especially – will be mainstream by 2018, but he urged the industry not to set expectations around the kind of penetration experienced by smartphones. Success doesn’t have to come in the form of ubiquity, he explained.

Those who do win will incorporate both ‘premium’ and ‘fun’ designs over the next few years, he outlined, with price points sitting at $500 to as low as just $30 in 2020.

He also suggested that such devices would become increasingly useful. Beyond just the communications or fitness/health tools they are today, they will also incorporate things like authentication, a central hub alongside the phone for everything to do with the ‘Internet of Things’, and more.

“Does my dad need one yet?” asked Cutts. “No, not really, it’s still a very techy device, but we’re on the cusp of that changing.”