Personalisation: Stand Out From the Crowd

Everybody likes to feel a little bit special sometimes.

What makes us feel more special than receiving something that is custom made specifically for us?

Personalisation can be a great eCommerce strategy for making your customers feel special—and for differentiating you from the competition. Tailoring products or services means that they can perfectly fit your customer, or allow them to express their unique personal style.

Here are 5 types of eCommerce businesses that are using a personalisation strategy.

1. Perfectly Fitting Earphones

Normal aims to solve the problem of earphones that don’t quite fit your ears. Customers can use a mobile app to take a picture of their ears. Normal will then custom 3-D print your earphones and have them assembled and delivered in 48 hours.

Normal is mashing up a few new technologies to achieve its personalised offering: selling via mobile; using an app to achieve measurement for personalisation; and 3-D printing. As Fast Co.Labs author Tyler Hayes pointed out in a recent article:

Combining on-demand 3-D printed parts along with a mobile commerce system, the company is testing a new merchandising strategy. Services like Uber have succeeded by selling via mobile, but selling a product—only one product—through a dedicated mobile app is still new territory, as far I know.

Headphones - Normal 3-D Prints Perfectly Fitting Headphones

2. Shoes to Suit Every Taste

Australian company Shoes of Prey allows customers to design their own women’s shoes. The shoes are then custom made to order and delivered within five weeks.

Shoes of Prey began in Sydney in 2009—so is an oldie (but a goodie) in terms of eCommerce companies using a personalisation strategy.

They’re not the only ones allowing you to personalise your shoes. Big brands like Nike, Converse, and Vans offer customization. We’ve also found companies like Upper Street in the United Kingdom and Alive Shoes, which are produced in the famous Italian Shoe Valley.

Shoes - Shoes of Prey Lets You Design Your Own Women's Shoes

3. Bras That Actually Fit

I’m not sure that many women enjoy the experience of bra shopping. Many have trouble finding the correct size and feel uncomfortable being intimately measured by a total stranger!

ThirdLove is an eCommerce company that allows you to go bra shopping from the privacy of your own home, using your cellphone. The ThirdLove app allows you to measure yourself in minutes using your phone’s camera features (don’t worry, you take the photo wearing a tank top).

The ThirdLove website explains:

How does it work? The ThirdLove app transforms your smartphone into a virtual measuring tape. Our computer vision and image recognition algorithms determine the size of your body in relation to your smartphone to calculate your measurements.

The San Francisco Chronicle Style Team tested out the app for a feature last Sunday, and reported: “[w]e’ve tested the fit accuracy, and it works—shockingly well, in fact.”

4. Unique Crafts and Jewellery

Perhaps more obvious, but no less cool, are eCommerce businesses allowing you to get various crafts and jewellery custom made.

For example, Custom Made is a site that matches you to designers and crafts people. You can commission your perfect bed, engagement ring, table, chair or necklace.

Another company harnessing the power of 3-D printing is Shapeways, which 3-D prints gadgets, accessories, jewellery, art, home items, and games in various precious materials. You can buy pre-designed products, or upload your own design. Shapeways also have an API, so you can use their service to power personalised products sold from your own store.

Another example is RocksBox, a jewellery subscription business that will send you three pieces of jewellery at a time, after you’ve told them your preferences. Customers can choose to wear the pieces as long as they like, send back the pieces they don’t like (or are tired off), and purchase the pieces they love for 20% off.

5. Your Personal Stylist

Recode reported yesterday that Nordstrom was in talks to buy TrunkClub, a personal shopper service for men. The stylist and shipping elements of the service are free, but TrunkClub customers pay between $100 and $300 for each clothing item they choose to keep.

Stichfix is a similar service for women. Customers create a style profile, are then sent 5 items chosen specifically for them. You can then keep or send back all or some of the items.

WooCommerce Products for Personalisation

Thinking about trying a personalisation strategy, but not sure where to start? Here are some of the WooCommerce extensions that can help you add personalisation to your eCommerce site:

  • The WooCommerce Product Add-Ons extension allows you to customise your products by adding new options, such as input boxes, dropdowns or checkboxes. You can even add a file upload field for customers to upload their own images.
  • The WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor provides you with an interface to add, edit and remove fields shown on your WooCommerce checkout page. Fields can be added and removed from the billing and shipping sections, as well as inserted after these sections next to the standard ‘order notes’.
  • AppPresser makes it quick and easy to create mobile apps. They offer an eCommerce bundle that enables you to create a mobile app for your WooCommerce store. You could combine this with the AppCamera bundle to achieve something like the photo-driven personalisation of Normal or ThirdLove.
  • You can also use the Variable Products feature in WooCommerce to specify different variations—such as sizes, colours and materials for your products.

Personalisation Breeds Loyalty

Do you find yourself constantly choosing to go back to that coffee shop where the barista knows your name and your regular coffee order, even though there is a cheaper cafe just around the corner from your home?

Blue Bottle Coffee and Macarons

While it may be simply that your regular joint serves better coffee, it’s also possible that you have developed loyalty for their business because the service you receive is more personal.

The same can happen for eCommerce. Customers may develop loyalty for your business if you can offer them custom made, unique products that they have a greater personal stake in. Now that’s special.


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