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5 ways to profit from mass customization

Customization has been a centerpiece of the fashion industry for a long time, although only accessible to very few. Once a privilege of the very wealthy, personalized products is currently becoming accessible to the masses.

Author:
Janne Souza

Customization is a growing trend in the fashion industry which represents an opportunity for brands to create a new value proposition, enhance consumer experience and increase consumer loyalty.

Producing personalized products on-demand improves manufacturing efficiency, reducing costs and eliminating the need for keeping inventory (which can result in deadstock), leading to sustainable growth.

With the growing use of digital technology in fashion, customization is becoming standard for sales conversions. Many brands and innovative companies are shifting to on-demand production to adapt to the increasing demand for personalized products, making use of digital technology to massively manufacture made-to-order products at scale.

Mass customization allows companies to produce goods that are tailored to the exact specifications of their customers while keeping costs down. This principle makes the most of both personalization and mass production, resulting in a manufacturing method that is cost-effective.

The growing awareness of overconsumption has led to a new understanding of consumption as a reflection of one's identity. When a brand offers personalization, they are giving their customers the chance of being unique, delivering value far beyond the value of the product itself; and people are willing to pay more for it.

Customization has been a centerpiece of the fashion industry for a long time, although only accessible to very few. Once a privilege of the very wealthy, personalized products is currently becoming accessible to the masses.

DiVERGE delivers premium, handcrafted and customizable sneaker making use of PlatformE technology.

From mass production to mass customization

Mass customization is a method of making production processes more adaptable so that brands can deliver goods that are exactly what the consumer demand. Personalization and mass production are combined to create a low-rate manufacturing method.

Back in 1999, Nike was the first to implement the idea of mass customization. With NikeiD (now called Nike by you), the company created the industry's first popular platform, allowing potential customers to buy shoes with a customized look and feel in terms of comfort, color, and style.

Fashion is undeniably one of the most important means of self-expression, and brands and retailers are recognizing this by integrating customization and personalization into their product lines as a way to offer unique products at a higher value. The shift towards bespoke, one-of-a-kind products, which is being fueled by a backlash against fast fashion, is a big trend that fashion e-commerce retailers must seize.

Mass customization elevates the personalization and flexibility of custom-made manufacturing to a new level of mass production. As a result, brands are able to produce personalized products in the same efficient way as a mass production line. Meaning: no overstocking.

1. Reducing inventory to zero

One of the major Italian luxury brands implemented frictionless, visually compatible, and user-friendly personalization in their e-commerce with the purpose of maximizing product interaction and sales conversions, branding the concept of self-expression with product customization.

The personalization experience was incorporated in a streamlined and time-efficient way, employing technology that gives the brand complete control over the interface and visual component.

With PlatformE Ripe SDK the luxury brand was able to deliver hundreds of product permutations with a single digital sample, eliminating the need for sample storage and photoshoots for e-commerce and marketing promotion.

The brand was able to provide a perfect visualization of hundreds of potential exclusive combinations with just one digital preview for each product using a mix of picture and 3D digital design. Money and time are saved by avoiding physical samples and photoshoots.

2. Customizing by demand

An Italian luxury footwear has developed an improved customization experience in order to provide greater value to its consumers and to begin selling digital-first before making physical samples.

The brand used high-quality 3D design to create true-to-life samples providing a pleasant customization experience. The customers were able to create their own unique product by choosing from a wide range of colors, patterns, and texture combinations.

The company was able to introduce a made-to-order strategy using PlatformE's Ripe SDK, which connected sales and manufacturing. This real-time link aided the brand in providing consumers with a completely personalized and high-value product.

The adoption of an integrated digital strategy has resulted in enhanced consumer engagement and increasing sales conversion, as well as cost savings from sampling and photoshoots.

3. Avoiding massive sampling and photoshoot

An American custom jeanswear brand makes extensive use of 3D and digital technology to empower their customers to build their own pair of jeans. Along with the body scan technology, the brand introduced a customization platform linked to their own e-commerce. The platform provides their customers with the possibility to customize their jeans at the point of purchase, adding more value.

The brand has been using its own 3D assets and AR to enable customers to design their own pairs of jeans. In addition, to improve the customization experience and visualization, the brand is using a made-to-order platform within their Shopify-based e-commerce, which is connected by PlatformE's Ripe White and Bridge.

The brand's portfolio offers a wide range of items, including small interchangeable parts that would result in high costs and risks associated with mass sampling, photoshoots, and inventory stockage.

By integrating 3D into their product design, they were able to drastically reduce the cost of physical sampling and photo shoots while still allowing its customers to create customized jeans that suit them in many different ways.

4. Mass customization at scale!

By implementing an end-to-end on-demand strategy for mass customization, a premium portuguese footwear brand was empowered to deliver customized and personalized handcrafted sneakers from fulfillment to customer in 14 days.

Thanks to the use of an automated and fully integrated platform, the brand was able to boost the on-demand operation, connecting POS and production. PlatformE's Ripe Pulse allowed the brand to monitor each process and ensure the supplier's capability and production quality.

The brand is taking advantage of PlatformE's Ripe Ecosystem to mass-produce personalized products. The footwear brand expect to be able to start selling and shipping made-to-order customized sneakers with a 7-day record lead-time for on-demand next year, thanks to the end-to-end platform and its connection to digital-savvy factories.

Having direct access to manufacturing and management control, which can be used on the factory floor, allows the brand to reduce lead times and optimize factory capacity. As a result, the end-of-season stock of finished goods was 0%, and 85% less money was spent on inventory. Rather than finished products, the entire investment is made in raw materials.

5. Streamlining e-fashion

An iconic sneaker brand was one of the first in the industry to innovate making use of e-fashion to leverage made-to-order mass customization on third-party e-tailers. The brand enhanced the personalization and online shopping experience by creating true-to-life digital twins that enabled the company to start selling right away.

The company wes a pinoeer in welcoming the e-fashion age by merging 3D product design with end-to-end mass customization, which was made possible by PlatformE's Ripe EcoSystem.

With a real-time sync platform and a completely digitalized catalog loaded with 3D rich files and data, the brand was ready to develop a made-to-order strategy, linking sales to production and eventually improving consumer experience and satisfaction - reducing lead time to zero.

PlatformE help your brand to set up your 3D Digital Catalog and to provide the best personalization experience to your customers.

The ultimate value: from made-to-measure to made-to-order

One of the biggest challenges for fashion mass customization is the large number of samples required for each combination. Digital product design avoids tens of thousands of physical sampling, and expenses with logistics, and photo-shooting, saving material and human capital and improving financial and production efficiency.

Take the following example: a product with 7 colourways, 26 letters, and 7 model views, on a normal procedure, would take: 182 different product samples, for one size only; 1,274 different photos and at least 182 SKUs. With 3D digital product creation, since 3D assets can be limitlessly edited with only one digital sample you can provide hundreds of product permutations.

In addition, mas customization offers the following advantages to brands:

  • 60x faster turnaround from design to production
  • Exercise much greater control over manufacturing
  • 0 Days from Order Confirmation at point-of-sale to Production Order at the factory
  • Go from on-demand fulfillment to end-consumer in 5-7 days
  • Keep a large digital collection without carrying physical inventory
  • Offer personalization and customization at multiple POS
  • No sales activity, mark-downs or promotional activity needed to clear out finished goods inventory
  • Introduce new product designs in days and stay ahead of the competition
  • Easy matchmaking with digital-savvy suppliers that are on-demand ready
  • 100% traceability and visibility of production status  
  • 100% of items selling at full-price
  • 85% less money invested in inventory
  • 0% End-of-season stock of finished goods
  • 42% price uplift AOV (due to custom orders)

We are living in a hyper-personalized age. It all comes down to the one customer. Allow as much or as little flexibility as you want and link demand directly to manufacturing in an automated way. Add a personalization module to allow customers to personalize your design before purchase. End-to-end visibility and connections to digitally savvy factories are critical to the feasibility of mass customization.

Personalized goods can now be designed, sold, and produced faster and more efficiently than ever before. PlatformE will orchestrate the on-demand production while your customer's imagination runs wild.

Read more: How fashion brands can cut down overstock and diminish risks with on-demand manufacturing

Read more: The factory of the future: producing personalized footwear on-demand

Get the e-book 5 Brands Profiting From Mass Customization (Free download)