The rise of personalization:
If we look at the surge of personalized products, the business model was nothing more than an additional service at the beginning. For instance, a car company providing customers to choose their own custom colors for their cars, shoe manufacturers creating exclusive custom-designed sneakers for select customers and other such products.
The applications were designed and applied for single products and the customization was kind of a luxury for only the high-end customers who could afford. But, with the increasing demand for personalization in processes, products and services, companies started looking for ways to provide mass personalization.
Now, if you look into the market, brands and organizations are offering product and process personalization for every customer and it is no longer a luxury but rather a premium section. Also, the industry has grown in both B2B and B2C categories.
In the B2C category, the need for personalized products has been fulfilled with the help of online product designer tools and customers can now find personalized merchandise, apparel, gifting products, shoes, uniforms, t-shirts, accessories, marketing collaterals and many other such day-to-day products.
In the B2B sector, many different product categories have been brand personalized. Right from business cards to banners, marketing collaterals as well as packaging material, every aspect has been personalized for the brand to create a distinct image for the customers.
The significance of personalization in the B2B and B2C market:
In both these sectors, the reasons and factors considered for personalization are different. For the B2B market, the idea is to include brand elements in each aspect of the business and cater to the customers with brand-personalized products and experiences.
For instance, when a person sees a hoarding or a marketing pamphlet, they now see the color, size and text of the collateral brand-personalized. Even the uniforms, business cards and other marketing and informational materials such as labels and stickers are brand-personalized.
On the other hand, customers love to own products or merchandise that is personalized for them. The idea is to provide customers with a sense of exclusivity. The personalized products are kind of an affordable luxury that customers can hold with pride.
One other reason why customers opt for personalization in the consumer market is to create an identity for their initiations. For instance, if they are organizing a sports day for the teams or they want to run a charity for a local cause or they want to create their own style or fashion statement, having access to personalized products can give them a unique identity at minimal cost and effort.
As both B2B and B2C markets have an increased demand for personalized products, services and experiences, every organization is now trying to cater to their customers with some form of personalization.
Impact of Personalization in the printing industry:
One of the major paradigm shifts that have been observed is in the printing industry! With the rise of web-to-print technology and the increased adaptation of online print shops, it is one such industry that has one of the best ways to provide personalized products and services to its customers.
For instance, B2B printing businesses are now providing their customers to create their own personalized labels, business cards, banners, packaging materials and many other such products with the help of an online print shop that is integrated with the product design software.
All customers have to do is visit the platform, choose the base product and create their customized product with the help of the custom product designer tool. These tools are designed to be user-friendly and empower customers to create personalized products without any graphic design proficiency.
Also, an ideal web-to-print design tool comes with an order management system and multi-store handling modules along with real-time pricing which not only reduces the turnaround time of the entire execution, but also facilitates personalized experiences with process automation and with minimal need for resources.
With the rising number of print shops that only offer personalized products and services to their customers, there has been a change in certain aspects of the business. Thus, whether printers focus on the B2B market or the B2C market, there are certain challenges that they need to ascertain to ensure that they can easily manage and sell their personalized products to customers.
Understanding the challenges of printing businesses that are essential for seamless management and selling of personalized products:
Personalized products can fetch a premium from the customers as every 1 in 5 customers is willing to pay extra for personalized products and services. But, there are many different ways in which print shops can charge their customers.
Many businesses have a fixed price policy while most businesses charge custom pricing based on the customizations that customers have selected to be made to the base product. Some businesses charge a subscription fee that customers have to pay to gain access of the online designer tool and thus, create a stable revenue source from subscribers. Print shops must understand their target market and audience in-depth and choose an ideal pricing policy for the same.
Previews and print quality:
When a customer wishes to own a personalized product, they have their own vision of the product and certain expectations with the look and feel of the product. Thus, when they use an online platform to order a personalized product, print shops must provide them with the optimum customization options, design areas and an easy-to-use platform for designing.
Thus, when they order a personalized product, print shops must provide them with 3D previews and 360° product views to give them a proper idea about the product. Also mention in detail about the quality of the product and the specifications of them. Along with that, it is also essential that when you print the design on the product it matches the displayed preview of the final product.
Shipping and ordering:
There are print-on-demand companies that deliver personalized products in 7-10 business days and even lesser. Shipping is an essential part of the experience and the delivery time must be reduced to the minimum. This would require process automation and a workforce that can handle orders and execution.
Also, if you have a multi-vendor platform, you must have delivery and shipping partners that can pick, assemble, ship and deliver products in the fastest and safest way possible. If you could beat the average delivery time of your target audience, it could serve you as an edge in the competitive market.
As far as ordering is concerned, print shops can easily automate their order and design process with a digital platform and web-to-print software. But, the execution and print allocation must happen efficiently to manage the order. Also, print shops have to think about the minimum bulk quantity of ordering and to ensure print-on-demand; they also have to choose the right printing technology.
2023 and beyond with personalization:
If you could figure out the way around these processes and challenges, personalized products and personalization as a whole are one of the best ways to get a rapid market share in the printing industry.
With the growing investments in AI and Machine Learning for micro personalization of user experiences to increased demand for Web-to-print solutions, increased demand for personalized products and increase in the businesses providing personalized products, it is evident that personalization is not a fleeting trend but an aspect of business that will soon become essential.