“It’s only 50 bucks more”
“Yeah but that’s 50 bucks more”
“But it says where I live”
“I know where you live”
Here’s a sample discussion between parent and child 1000’s over in the Nike stores since the introduction of NikeID in 1999. Thanks Nike. What’s NikeID? You can customise just about everything through their online portal from shoe lace colour, rubber sole finish to even have where you live embroided onto the back. The result? Nike has tripled their online sales since 2004* They don’t do things by halves and since then many companies have followed suit.
Custom words - weworewhat.com
Customisation was once only in the realm of the super rich, done by a bunch of artisans liaising with you several times to finally come up with a bespoke, tailored product. Although this still exists, us regular punters can get a whiff of this through the modern day version called mass customisation.
Mass customisation basically means that modern industrial processes have reached a stage where it is economically viable for brand to give you a unique product with not a hell of a lot of investment or cost to them. Those loco machines are catching us!
What does this mean? Everyone gets free unique tacos!! Well, not exactly. Picture this. Say you were involved in the harvesting of the corn from the fields or you ground the corn yourself to make maize. How much better would those taco’s taste?
The basic thinking here is that this involvement in the process creates ‘ownership attachment’ to the product and therefore is far more likely to convert you to purchase. It’s super interesting to see the shift in behaviour from customers wanting a good product to customers having more direct involvement in a good product.
It’s a charming thought - getting a product made en-mass and turning it into something of your own. I know this, you know this and Brands knew this yesterday.
Coke released named cans for a while to make you feel like it was yours. Uniqlo introduced an app that let you customise t-shirt prints which some punters believe was related to a 5% decrease in sales at Gap. Tanner leather goods customise all their leather goods in store if you’re willing to wait (I was). Shinola will even write lewd statements of your creation on their books if you’re game (not saying that I did this but I did this). Custom products feel good as you can see, even I’ve gone there. To an extent.
Now you know what’s happening out there and it’s not such a bad thing. Brands are listening and spending more time on you and as long as you know what’s happening who really cares. For us, we’re a bit more old school and subscribe more to the old world version of customisation. Handmade and hand cut providing a uniqueness put in there by old school artisans. I also have a bag, by Australian Cordwainer Wootten, hand made with inherently unique full aniline leather. The bag is unique out of the shop, will patina with age which in itself is beautiful. It’s not mass anything. Old fashioned unique. Simple.
Mass customisation, bespoke, mass produced - whatever they want to call it. At the end of the day you, the consumer, has the power this Christmas. Brands will play every trick in the book to get your hard earned, so exercise your power of choice with knowledge. DC