We’re all slightly self-obsessed. I bet you think this post is about you, don’t you? Brands have clocked onto this and are forever striving to make the customer feel special. By offering a curated service or product, the brand acknowledges each individual’s weird and wonderful quirks. Done correctly, you’ll maintain loyal customers, but also intrigue new ones.
Why does it work so well? Firstly, time is precious. If a product is made exactly the way a customer knows they need it, there’s a lower chance of returning or exchanging the order. If an online supermarket already has a customer’s favourite grocery products ready to go, this avoids spending hours in a heaving store.
Also, everyone loves a brag on social. In the past when brands have successfully pulled off personalised products, a social media buzz has ensued. Capitalism has moved beyond simply owning a product and proving ourselves via material worth, now we cultivate our own online brands through our purchase decisions. Of course the best example of this is Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. In the US, it resulted in increased sales volume for the first time in roughly four years. You can also customise your own Share a Coke bottle online; this means the more obscure names get a slice of the action, so Felicias and Bartholomews rejoice.
Consumers also like to stick to what they know. If a customer already trusts a certain shoe brand’s quality, they may stick with the familiar but change it up with a new version of their favourite trainer. This worked well with NIKEiD where customers were invited to ‘Create your signature shoe.’ By granting the customer more agency in how the product looks, they’ve already invested a deeper personal interest.
Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ provides a personal playlist of 30 songs, curated and released each Monday based on a listener’s habits. Within the first 10 months of launching, Discover Weekly saw 5 billion song plays. This brilliant service plants lesser known songs in our laps; perfect for lazy listeners who thrive off ‘I knew them before they were famous’ bragging rights. In the beauty world, the sheer volume of products available overwhelming so the bespoke trend is hitting makeup bags too. If we’re going to plaster cosmetics over bodies, we want to know they suit our skin down to a tee. The most stellar example is Amazon’s on point (verging on creepy) personalised service. Every customer’s homepage is littered with finely targeted recommendations ‘For a Night In.’ They’ve nailed the curated customer experience, helping them discover something new by tempting users with dreamy basket fillers.
How do brands follow suit? It’s important to make an impact but avoid diluting the message. For bigger companies, their strong logos are recognisable so they can afford to play with customisation. Smaller brands be wary. With marketing tactics, permission is important, otherwise it can seem aggressive and insincere. Retail brands should categorise their users; a customised email or ‘recommended for you’ list may seem unnerving if you’ve only clicked on the site once. For a regular user, this could come across as extremely impressive – the same way your favourite waiter knows your name and wine preference before you even order. Above all, make sure the recommendations are helpful and relevant, rather than off-putting. Brands need to find the sweet spot between offering a bespoke service whilst conserving both their reputations and relationships.