Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

Customisation is a means for customers to fulfil their ultimate product fantasies. Thanks to emerging technologies, innovative companies are seizing new opportunities.

A 3D-printed hand undergoing its final stages of creation

From fast food to the perfect pair of trainers and all sorts of weird and wonderful new gadgets, customers now have the ability to ‘create’ the product they truly desire. For manufacturers and retailers, it’s a far cry from a century ago when Henry Ford famously stated: “You can have any colour you want, as long as it's black!”

For many retailers and manufacturers, customisation will be essential to their future survival. Clothing, accessories and footwear were retail categories at the leading edge of customisation, which makes sense when you consider that these items are important means of personal self-expression. Customisation enables people to wear their ideal fashion item and be 'on trend', while at the same time feel unique by giving that item a personal tweak. For example, Nike shoppers in the US can use NIKEiD to customise their athletic shoes. What about a customised hydration platform for athletes? Absolutely.    

Customising in 3D

Another technology enabler for customisation is 3D printing.

Online platforms, such as i.materialise, Shapeways and Thingify, allow people to turn their own concepts into 3D-printed reality. They are also online marketplaces for all kinds of 3D-printed products.

A cautionary tale

The quest for innovative brands is to leverage the latest technologies in ways that enable people to easily customise the products they actually want. Unfortunately, what people say they want and what they will eventually purchase doesn’t always match up, so it pays to be careful with your market research and new product developments. Shoes of Prey offers one such cautionary tale of the gap between intended and actual consumer behaviour.

 Is customisation the future of your business?

 Discover Telstra Smarter Business Tools

Are you looking to make customisation a part of your business?

Discover resources, reports and insights to help you achieve your goals.

Find Out MoreAre you looking to make customisation a part of your business?

Man using tablet in stockroom
Business IQ
Business IQ
The fundamentals of online security planning

Protecting your business online requires more than set-and-forget antivirus software. In an increasingly digital world, planning and strategy are key for keeping your business ...

Man using tablet in stockroom
Productivity
Productivity
Your 5-step guide to digitising your business

Kickstart your business’s digital transformation with our quick guide. Discover the five essential steps that can help your business thrive online in 2021 and beyond.

Hacker working on a laptop
Business IQ
Business IQ
What it's like to be hacked: 2 businesses tell their stories

We uncover the financial, reputational and emotional impacts faced by two small Aussie businesses that have been victims of an online attack.

Secure payment on a mobile phone
Business IQ
Business IQ
3 ways to show customers you’re keeping their data secure

Give customers every reason to shop with you by showing them your business is secure online.