Personalisation as a service: Delivering customised products on demand

More consumers have become accustomed to the opportunities for personalised experiences and products.

Personalisation as a service: Delivering customised products on demand

More consumers have become accustomed to the opportunities for personalised experiences and products. The ability to personalise packaging is now commonplace among the biggest brands, such as Cadbury chocolate in the UK, while global brands such as Nike have even made it possible for consumers to fully customise their own pair of shoes via their website. As sophistication has increased, consumer expectations have grown. In fact, research by Deloitte discovered that in some product categories more than 50% of consumers expressed interest in purchasing customised products or services, with as many as one in five willing to pay a 20% premium for such goods. 

Established challenges

As more consumers pay a premium to attain the customised product they truly want, more organisations are understandably looking for a piece of the personalisation pie. Retailers, particularly the smaller boutique establishments, are however facing a common set of hurdles to achieving profitability. High costs and lengthy lead times from third party print suppliers can often be problematic in meeting consumer demand and turning personalised products around at short notice.

With the inability for print service providers to facilitate short-run orders, the requirement to order high print volumes when retailers only require a small number will inevitably lead to wastage. Not only is this not cost-effective, but also problematic in terms of the sustainability stature of the retailer. With four out of five UK consumers adopting more sustainable lifestyle choices during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s critical that retailers ensure leaner strategies with their stock and communicate their green credentials to consumers.

Powering profitability

With the right technology in place, retailers are better able to adapt their operations rapidly and cost effectively without reliance on third-party providers. The solution is bringing the right printer in-house, enabling a comprehensive end-to-end process of printing personalised packaging in an eco-friendly way.

A single device can facilitate personalised designs on a range of media, including, paper bags ‘ depending on approved media type, size and weight ‘ and, boxes in-house and in-store. Additionally, it’s also possible to print cards, envelopes and stationery, plus labels, banners, product tags, brochures, leaflets, stickers and even window signage. Retailers benefit from a low total cost of ownership, with no costs incurred for setup and minimal upfront investment. To meet short-run requirements, the ability to print as little as just one item means there’s no wastage and meets the potential demands of the consumer.

While wholly beneficial to retailers in an operational sense, consumers seek both flexibility of choice and high-quality goods and services, and use of the right printing technology can also enable this. Media diversity makes it possible for different substrates to be used in the printing process, allowing for sustainable materials to be incorporated. Deep, vibrant colours and high colour density means that personalised designs can be unique among the competition.

Standing out from the crowd

As digital channels fiercely compete with the traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever, particularly as sectors with customisable products make up such a large segment of the UK market. Fashion for example accounts for 31% of ecommerce revenue in the region. Consumers now have unprecedented levels of access to personalised and customised retail products that can be tailored to their exact needs. The key for retailers is to adopt the right technology to overcome the traditional barriers, such as short-run limitations and lack of support for sustainable materials, while meeting evolving consumer demand.

Rob Brown
Rob Brown

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