In the retail world, personalisation has been with us for many years. Car manufacturers allow you to select from a wide range of options, plus the ability to choose any paint colour you wish, meaning in today’s market, very few cars have the same specification.
We have also seen the same trend in terms of clothing. Major brands such as Nike allow consumers to ‘build your own’ footwear with colour and material choices for base layer, sole, laces, tongue, upper, logo and even your own ID. Similar personalisation is available across other markets such as printing, fast food and even furniture.
However, at this time, the personalisation of many digital services we use daily lags behind the options available in the physical retail world, such as:
- Financial services force consumers to select from ‘one size fits all’ products rather than allowing consumers to infinitely tune financial products and plans to suit their own needs
- Retail vouchers, although digital and in some cases customer specific do not provide the consumer with the ability to use that voucher to tailor their purchase, resulting in the voucher being restricted to money off and something free
- The utilities sector only currently provide generic tariffs rather than offering personalised tariffs based on usage and time of use, allowing the end user to benefit from changing their usage behaviour.
There are of course valid reasons why some sectors lag behind others in terms of offering personalisation – namely their outdated and complex IT applications, plus sometimes their lack of vision in terms of seeing what is happening in other sectors as a pre-cursor to their own. But it is only a matter of time until someone from each sector recognises the consumer demand for personalisation and seeks to differentiate themselves by being first to offer such services in their market.
To do this, will take investment and vision.
Investment, because very few applications that underpin a company’s product and services are currently capable of offering the level of personalisation needed, plus very few companies are able to provide consumers with a single view of their existing portfolio or usage from which to form the basis of a personalised set of service.
Vision, because for a company to see an opportunity to differentiate or see the future trend of personalisation, and subsequently make the appropriate investments, takes vision, looking beyond the status quo.
Mass personalisation will happen and I believe it will become the norm within the next five years. The question is does your strategy embrace this digital and personalisation shift?