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Customization Key To Reducing Churn, Winning Gen Z's Heart

To stay afloat in a competitive retail market, brands constantly look for new ways to deepen their relationships with customers. Customization is an emerging e-commerce trend that empowers consumers to create something that’s their own, helping them design their own personalized products unique to them.

This trend appeals particularly to Generation Z, who grew up on customization — hitting fast-casual restaurants like Sweetgreen and Chipotle that offer build-your-own options  — and who want to be involved in the design process the same way with retailers, from start to finish.

With this demographic set to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020 (according to a Fast Company post), and reportedly connected more than 10 hours a day, (according to Adobe research), discovering their buying preferences is critical for brands that want to succeed in the coming decade — especially e-commerce vendors.

KPMG found that many businesses that already personalize online user experiences are seeing sales increases of 19% on average.

Take luxury brand Mon Purse, which lets shoppers design handbags and select every detail. By going to the retailer’s site, consumers choose a style from a variety of choices such as leather texture, color, hardware, and size. 3D technology on the site even lets consumers see their progress as they go.

Another example of customization that boosts brand loyalty can be seen within the footwear market. Players like Nike and Adidas recognized early on the advantages of offering a build-your-own shoe option, and it’s repeatedly kept consumers coming back to recreate designs.

These brands even allow consumers to create an account so they can save their customized designs, and Adidas just launched a new app that serves as the hub of all digital interaction with the brand. Featuring a personalized news feed, a chatbot to field customer service requests, and a full online store, the app creates a more personalized, mobile-friendly shopping experience for consumers who want to create and purchase their favorite apparel.

Now, smaller players in the footwear market have started innovating beyond the design aspect of customization to offer custom fit options to their customers.

Wiivv focuses solely on mobile optimization, and is the first footwear company to make a customized shoe through a smartphone app, allowing consumers to create their own designs and capture their exact foot measurements.

This sensitivity around individualized needs goes a long way when it comes to brand loyalty, allowing shoppers to buy again when their custom shoes wear out. Why would they purchase from anywhere else when their customized data is already stored by the company?

By integrating these initiatives, brands acknowledge their customers as people rather than purchases, and earn their trust, which is critical in today’s competitive retail landscape.

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