Luxury returns to customizationTuesday, 28 June 2011
When the luxury market first came about, luxury goods makers delivered personalised products to customers based on an in depth consultation of the individual’s personal tastes, styles and budget.
Then luxury boomed; no longer could the service afford its personal touch but was based upon a mass production of its goods due largely in part to an active economy. Luxury became such a mainstream part of fashion houses output that craftsmanship and artisan lost out to logo’s,‘it’ bags and a constant turnover. But the market almost outgrew its own reach and now a back-to-old roots is happening, whereby mass customisation promises to return individuality to the luxury market.
In a recent report entitled “Mass Customisation is (Finally) the Future of Products,” Forrester Research describes the process like this: “Mass customisation bifurcates the product experience of customers into two stages. First, the customer participates in design by making choices around particular features. Second, the manufacturer produces a unique built-to-order product for delivery to the customer.”
It’s not necessarily a new idea, Nike, launched Nike ID – its platform which allowed customers to add a personalised look – in 1999, Louis Vuitton launched the Mon Monogram customization service for the brand’s bags and lettering could be added to sunglasses with Prada Customize. However since then any attempts by other houses to make customising available on signature pieces have failed due to poor implementation and inability to maintain cost levels.
But now, largely due to our new digital means of shopping, such as Facebook and multiple online outlets, the luxury market has new opportunity in a customer expecting more from their shopping experience and cheaper tools to create visuals, to open back up forms of customization.
It looks set to have a prosperous future as these customisation platforms can anticipate, and not just cater to, personal tastes so can simultaneously surprise consumers and provide them at will – surely a huge potential for the luxury market.