In today’s digital age it has become easier for brands to engage with the audience at a larger scale. Some brands have taken the initiative to involve their customers in designing their products and services. It is a way of empowering your customers.
Let us look at what customerization means and the advantages it holds for startups.
Customerization is the customization of products or services through personal interaction between a company and its customers. A company is customerized when it is able to establish a dialogue with individual customers and respond by customising its products, services, and messages on a one-to-one basis (Source Wiki).
One company that allows its audience to engage in designing its products is Jones soda. This company does it really well in terms of customizing and empowering its customers. It costs the company very little when implementing this. All they have to do is look at all the pictures received from people and figure out which one suits best for their current flavour or edition. Watch the video below to see how they do it.
When we talk of customer co-creation, a company called Local Motors does this well. This company produces both normal driving and off-road capabilities cars. Their website is open to all for design submissions.
So this is how it works.
- People submit their designs on the portal and all their designs are protected.
- All the designs are voted upon and the ones with the maximum votes get the green signal.
- You can submit designs for specific parts of the car too.
- Each part will be named after the designer who designed it.
Here is a video describing how they do it.
As you can see how they empower people to be a part of something big. They have released a couple of cars and have become a huge hit but only in certain regions as these cars are expensive and not suitable for many regions. One important thing to notice is that because of adopting this strategy Local Motors has lower costs and faster production times. That is a feat when it comes to the automobile industry.
Why are the above-mentioned practices necessary for companies struggling with resources and costs.
- It helps you cut costs. People submit their ideas and all you have to do is pick the one they chose and assemble it.
- It lets you focus on your core competencies. What this means is that in the case of Local Motors they spend their time focussing on assembling and delivery rather than on design and development.
- It saves a lot of time. As you can have a deadline for the ideas and you get to choose from the ones that have been submitted.
- The time to market is shortened by a great extent.
As you can see the wide array of cost benefits and advantages you get by following any of the methods. Though it may not be possible for every company to take that chance to move in this direction it surely would benefit the companies that do. This also brings in a lot of attention from investors as if it does become successful they might be inclined towards investing in your company.