19 07, 2012

Interview: Sabine Beck of Amoonic: Custom Jewelry for Every Budget

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:58+00:00 Juli 19th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-Design Process, Interview, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization|

Copyright Amoonic, www.amoonic.de, all rights reserved!Amoonic has been a presenter in the startup panel of the MC2012 conference in Salzburg. Founded in 2011, they are striving to give the market something that it does not already have in excess: customized jewelry at an affordable price

"Affordable" is, however, a rather relative criteria, depending on one's own budget, and so Amoonic's products range from 150 to 2.5 million Euro. That being said, the majority of products do, of course, feature a significantly lower price tag than what they ask for their masterpiece, the La Fleur.  Besides rings in all shapes and materials, holding all kinds of gems, Amoonic also offers earrings, brooches, necklaces and, for the male customer, cufflinks.

Custom jewelry has been one of the best funded and prominent applications of MC in the net, with large and successful players like GEMVARA in the US or investments from the German Sammer brothers in the same field.

Copyright Amoonic, www.amoonic.de, all rights reserved!Like their competitors, Amoonic's portfolio is rather large,  with over 6000 rings, about 900 earrings and nacklaces each and 300 cufflinks. All designs are made on-demand and hence do not require any upfront investment with the risk of losing money if they do not get sold. Storage costs are also extremely low, granting better chances to prevail on the tough market for jewelry. 

Amoonic is also constantly trying to optimise customer experience. For example, Amoonic has just adjusted theit website, now making it a lot easier for the (potential) customer to recognize the individualization potential and to get to configure his/her own jewelry.

All rights reserved!We had the chance to talk to Sabine Beck who founded Amoonic together with Olga Dick. In our interview she gave insight into the specifics of the mass custom online jewelry market, how Amoonic overcomes some of the hurdles MC-entprepreneurs are confronted with and gives valuable tips for others who play with the thought to enter the world of individualized online commerce.

FTP: Sabine, you gave a great presentation of your jewelry business Amoonic on this year's MC2012 conference. Being a relatively young venture, how have your experiences on the MC market have been so far and how do they compare to your expectations when you decided to start Amoonic?

SB: Our experience so far shows that individualizing jewelry is definitely a trend in the mass customization market. The demand, to suit jewelry to ones own need is consistent with our expectations. In fact, it was difficult to clearly illustrate or demonstrate at first glance on our website that at Amoonìc jewelry can be customized without losing on design. We had to overcome the gap between a visually elegant and exclusive shop for the premium range and an easy recognizable display site that is about customizable jewelry.

Since last week, you can see at once that this is an exclusive shop in the premium range of mass customization. We have made it clear on our home page as well as on our category pages that you can customize each product. It was important for us that Amoonìc is not to be seen as a standard online shop but as a high-quality "online jeweler".

FTP: Your business model differs from many others insofar as it does require very little storage of raw materials and components, equaling lower fix costs. Does this allow you to compete with other non-MC vendors in terms of price?

SB: We cannot produce as low as companies that manufacture their products abroad. To ensure the highest standard in terms of quality, we produce only in Germany. Nevertheless, our prices are similar to the ones in a traditional jewelry store because we do not have to bear the risk that a collection is not sold. We also don’t provide the usual in store customer service or have expensive store costs so we can maintain prices similar to store prices.

FTP: How do you guarantee timely delivery of products to your customers, seeing how every piece of jewelry has to be produced individually and that the number of orders can fluctuate?

SB: In the background, Amoonìc  has already a very well-functioning supply chain which runs smoothly and partly automated. Thus Amoonìc ensure that even with a higher order volume delivery time can be maintained easily and we have access to flexible resources. Also, we already included a time buffer in our delivery time to avoid delays.

Due to our good contacts to suppliers in the jewelry industry, we can procure our materials in the shortest possible time. Especially in the jewelry industry it is difficult to set up such a flexible supplier network. One advantage is that we are very well networked. We have a flexible price model which allows us to update the prices quickly in frequent intervals.

FTP: Jewelry is typically a product that customers want to see and feel in reality before they buy it. Has this turned out to be an obstacle for your business? How do you (plan) to overcome it?

SB: For Amoonìc the sense of touching jewelry has become a solvable problem. With the possibility to see the jewelry on the own hand by photo-realistic images the customer gets an accurate idea of ​​the piece of jewelry. Being able to return the jewelry within 30 days takes away the inhibition of the customer to buy a gem without having seen it in person.

FTP: Can you tell anything about your sales figures? How well are your offerings received by consumers?

SB: The order volume has exceeded our expectations. We plan and like to reach the break-even-point in the middle of next year.

FTP: At the MC2012 conference you estimated about 40% of your sales to be pre-configured jewelry, 60% customized. How do customized rings differ from their preconfigured pendants? Are all possible combinations of gems and materials already in the preconfigured catalogue?

SB: Customized rings do not differ from the preconfigured pendants. All different combinations are shown in our catalogue on our website so that there is no real need for the customer to customize a ring, if he is not interested in doing so.

FTP: Do you have any plans to broaden your portfolio of products in the foreseeable future? Or to offer new features to your website?

SB: We plan to expand within the next year. In addition to that, we will offer an English version of our website to address a bigger market. In addition, in the next few months there will be a lot of new features available on amoonic.de. Open Innovation is our approach for the future, this means we constantly include our customers and othe experts in the innovation process.

FTP: What do you think where MC in general is heading? Will it just be a trend or the new business model for (most) vendors?

SB: In my opinion, MC address people who don´t want to buy anything from the rack. They would like to emphasize their own personality. I think right now we are still speaking of a trend, but I believe that this trend will develop and establish itself in the next few years. Especially those with middle or higher incomes make a point in buying something unique to distinguish themselves from others and to meet their own needs.

FTP: Which advise would you give entrepreneurs planning to enter the MC market? Can you tell about any mistakes you made that they should avoid?

SB: The most important fact is to consider the size of the targeted market. The main focus should not be only on the configurator. All various possible combinations of the products should also be displayed in the shop. In our opinion the passion to create a product playfully depends heavily on the target group as well as on the gender. In addition, the configurator should be easy to use. Another aspect is that you should create independent content from the SEO point of view besides the configurator, so that you can guarantee a good visibility on Google and other search engines.

FTP: How important do you rate the use of social media not only to promote ones MC-company but also interact with consumers to better position oneself in the market?

SB: Nowadays social media is mandatory and the direct interaction with customers is a real benefit. To us open innovation is the cue. Involving the customer in the idea generation phase is very important and we believe that this is the future. This may reduce intensive costs for market research In the future.

FTP: Sabine, thank you very much for the interview and your interesting views on the mass customization market. I am looking forward to watch Amoonic evolve!

17 07, 2012

Interview: Heiko Vogelgesang of egoo.de, the leading German Mass Customization Consumer Portal

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:01+00:00 Juli 17th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Deutsch (in German), Interview, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization|

Heiko_vogelgesang_09_swWhile the Mass Customization "movement" originated in the United States, the German speaking world has long caught fire about the concept. Many companies are already employing it over here, be it as their main business model or "just" a side branch. 

For all those who want to update themselves on news and trends about MC in German language, my dear blogging colleague Heiko Vogelgesang will most likely have you covered on his very well-written and often updated blog egoo.de.

Furthermore, egoo.de features a pretty comprehensive database of MC companies from around the world, often with a personal review of the products by Heiko. 

We had the chance to talk to Heiko about his blog, the experiences and observations he made during his years-long time in the MC community and his expectations for the future of  individual customization. So read on for what egoo.de really has to offer!

FTP: Heiko, your blog egoo.de is the largest mass customization blogs in German language, and one of the best in the world. Many people take it as an entry point to the MC world. When did your interest for MC spark up and what fascinated you so much about this topic that you decided to start your own blog about it?

HV: My interest started with my first own shirt in 1999. I loved the idea of creating your own products. Nonetheless almost eight years passed unitl I realized that there is a lot of need of information. Beginning of 2007 I wrote an article with an overview of german Mass Customization Online-Shops on my private blog. I never had so many visitors on my blog before. So I researched about this topic and saw that there is no website which informs specific about this topic. egoo was born. After round a about 1 ½ years of planning, egoo.de started in september 2008. 

FTP: What exactly do you offer? What can consumers, scholars, managers expect to get out of a visit on your blog?

HV: First, egoo is geared to end consumers. They can expect a "unique" database of mc-companies, interesting news about personalized products and special offers. But also scholars and managers will find a lot of posts with interesting news about the mc industry.

FTP: And how does this work for companies wanting to be included into your database? Can one simply sign up and fill a questionnaire or do you hand pick them?

HV: Yes, there is a simple way to sign up for free at http://egoo.de/shops/shop-eintragen. The principal goal is to have a complete database with ALL online-shops where you can customize products. To give the visitors an orientation there are hand-picked recommendations in the specific categories.

FTP: Can you go a bit in depth about the benefits of your database for consumers in comparison to, say, just googling for MC companies?

HV: Gladly! First of all the visitor gets an editorially approved overview over all mc-shops of his interest. eg. business shirts. Also, as i already mentioned, the visitors find in every category hand-picked recommendations. Additionally there are detailed information like pricing, shipping time, special offers and year of founding provided for most of the stores. 

FTP: With these services offered, your database needs to be and stay curated and maintained. How do you guarantee for up-to-date information about the companies listed in it?

HV: In Germany we call it "Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr"

[information supplied without liability]. 😉 So there is no guarantee that all information are up to date at all times. But I check the information regularly and do my very best.

FTP: All this work you invest into your blog and the database certainly costs a lot of time. How do you finance yourself, do your services cost money?

HV: No, there are no costs for customer and no costs for shops. I try to finance this project just by ads. For example companies can buy display-ads, a highlighted position in the database or other special promotions.

FTP: A more in general question: what do you think will the future of Mass Customization be? Will it just be a trend or the new businesacs model for all (or most) of retail?

HV: In my opinion it quite clearly is a new business model for retail. But not for all. You'll never will successful sell customized bathroom tissue. At least in masses. But for the most retailer there is a lot of potential in mass customization. 

FTP: From your experience with all the companies you examined for your database: What are the major errors you notice being made by MC-companies and how do your think these could be avoided?

HV: The major error was to think that to sell personalized products are easier than other ones. In the commodity boom of the MC trend in 2010, there were a lot of startups in Germany who tried to jump on the bandwagon. Many of them are closed again. E-Commerce isn't that easy. On the contrary: With personalized product you have to solve a lot of problems that you don't have with mass-products. 

FTP: How important do you rate the use of social media not only to promote ones MC-company but also interact with consumers to better position oneselve in the market?

HV: Especially personalized products are very emotional. Customers put a lot of time to create their own product so they love them. That's the perfect requirement for sharing in social media. This advantage can be exploited by the mc-companies.

FTP: Do you see any differences between smaller and larger vendors when it comes to MC? 

HV: The "small" start-ups are much more flexible and the most ones are really innovative. Some of them created completely new processes in production. The big ones are sluggish and need much, much more time to optimize their workflow or offers. Moreover I had the feeling that they are spoilt of the easy way to sell their mass-products. If there is a problem they stop the experiment mass customization or don't even start.

FTP: Do you have anything planned for egoo.de? Are any new services or projects to be expected?

HV: There are many optimizations for the directory planned. The next step is to persuade more vendors to provide a customer-friendly returning policy which will be signalized with an egoo seal and integrate customer reviews in the directory.

FTP: Heiko, thank you very much! I am looking forward to your upcoming articles and to follow your next projects!  And a note for anyone in the mass customization field: Support Heiko by cooperating with him, linking to his blog, and providing him with info and perhaps paid ads. As without a large consumer-focused portal, we will never shift MC consuption to a higher level!

10 07, 2012

Conference Report MC2012: The German Mass Customization Community Meeting

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:16+00:00 Juli 10th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, MC/OI on the Web, Offline Customization, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Copyright FH Salzburg, http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=fh%20salzburg&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fh-salzburg.ac.at%2F&ei=EoPxT5vBMqqg4gTRqfncDQ&usg=AFQjCNFVR6AyMuGxHyBpGzKbuuuWdY_6jQ&cad=rja, all rights reserved!Unless you started following my blog just now, there is no way you could potentially have missed the announcements, special editions and features about the MC2012. This year's edition of the largest MC conference in German language, hosted by Dominik Walcher, Paul Blazek and myself, took place on 29th of June.

Despite the early time of day, the air already started to flicker from the upcoming heat of what promissed to be a really nice summer day at the marvellously desgined building of the University of Applied Sciences near edge of the Alp mountains in Salzburg, Austria.

About 150 professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts from all parts of the mass customization landscape in the German experienced a tightly packed day dedicated to the opportunities of customer co-design.

Copyright TIM Lehrstuhl, www.tim.rwth-aachen.de, all rights reserved!

Panoramic audience shot. Click to enlarge!

And what a day it was! A buzzing audience followed the presentations of no less than 24 speakers, ranging from young entrepreneurs, telling the tale of their entrance into the MC market, global players and market leaders, giving insight into proven ways and tactics to profit from customer participation, to leading scholars, showing how latest research proves the concept of the integrated customer to be more than a trend.

To not only preach customer integration but actually live up to our words and integrate our conference participants beyond questions and one-on-one networking, we had a special feature in place. Werner Haring, founder and CEO of wallero.us, had contributed to the event's multi media experience by "installing" a social media wall right next to the stage.

Copyright Profilfoto von CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

Social Media Wall, Courtesy of wallero.us. Click to enlarge!

This application was a real eye-catcher and various running gags were born during the course of the event – and you still can follow the #MCSalzburg hashtag for a report of the conference.

 The day headed off with the introductory panel. After a hearty welcome by co-host Dominik Walcher, my research group's members Dr. Christoph Ihl and Thorsten Harzer outlined results from our research projects and demonstrated some of the numerical "magic" behind Mass Customization and Open Innovation and how it can be utilized to take the right decisions about mission-critical aspects that many companies do not even realize to be of great importance.

As an example: asked about the ideal number of customization options to offer in your configurator (solution space), would your answer have been: "As many as possible, since more choice equals happier customers!"? If your answer to this is "yes" then our latest resarch findings might offer some ways to improve your customer satisfaction.

Following Dominik Walcher's insight into the development and outcome of the MC500, our great study of the most important MC companies from around the world, I had the chance to present on the importance of customer integration and how companies of all sizes can profit from proper employment of the concept, as well as some new MC trends of the future.

Next on the agenda was the market panel in which Franz Blach (IDEO), Franz Hölzl (Kaindl) and Wolfgang Gruel (Daimler) gave really interesting and well-received insight how Open Innovation, individualization and co-creation have changed the way they are conducting their business and the ways they found to profit from it:

  • An interesting attempt at improvement of working culture were IDEO's working ethics, as Franz Blach outlined them. They are meant to be pretty much contrary to what we are used to in most larger companies these days. Instead of perfectionism and pressure, IDEO deems a culture in which close teamwork, prototypical work (things do not have to be perfect in their first iteration, can evolve and develop), error tolerancy and more fun are the key principles. While there is certainly more to a successful innovation company, this is certainly an approach favorable by many employees.
  • Franz Hölzl demonstrated how Kaindl was able to offer a totally new way to produce wooden flooring, printed with individual patterns and colors, in great looking quality. Because of their production technology and business model, they can deliver a much more customized product at a significantly lower price.
  • Wolfgang Gruel finally brought up the question if/why it is necessary that privately owned cars are often used in a really inefficient way, standing in the driveway most of the time and usually being too large for most of the time they are used. Daimler has been working on models to counter this development by employing car sharing, car pooling and affordable renting models. Nothing revolutionary new, you will say, but this time it is being done large-scale, by an international company, and not your small start-up next door. It will be interesting to observe whether Daimler can actually change something about the status quo or if the highly valued status symbol "car" will remain untouched by the means of sheer efficiency.

 

Original images copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl , collage copyright TIM Group, all rights reserved!

Some captures of our speakers. Click to enlarge!

Next: the social media panel, moderated by Paul Blazek: For all those planning to integrate social media into their PR strategy as well, talks by Martina Partl and Clarissa Streichsbier of cyLEDGE were as insightful as Catharina van Delden's summary of her company innosabi's (unserAller, anybody?) work. Renate Gruber gave the finishing presentation about how her venture CupCakes made its way from a traditional food company onto the MC market:

  • Partl and Streichsbier pointed out that, while social media in regards to mass customization was nothing new anymore, the combination of social media and open innovation are a perfect match. This is certainly true in so far as open innovation per definition relies on participation and hence any media that is suited to increase awareness is potentially supportive for any OI initiative.

    Interestingly they chose Facebook as an example for a customizable information source. The important role of facebook as a customer relationship tool was stressed by all speakers in this panel. Certainly will be interesting to see if/how companies think of now ways to even better employ the platform for their needs. 

During the lunch break, there was time to check the 20+ exhibitors. Some had even set up live demonstrations of their product offers, like Pasterie, supporting us with freshly made pasta or CowCrowd, demoing their lovely wooden pendants, individualized on-location with your own image and/or custom text.

Next: The start-up panel, hosted by MC-blogging colleague Heiko Vogelgesang (egoo.de). Here, Sabine Beck gave an amazing presentation about how her jewlery business Amoonic manages to mix pre-configured and individually customized rings and more in a great portfolio that every manager dreams about: produced entirely on demand, without any significant need for storage space or the risk of wasting materials.

Interestingly, their configurator is not even visible if you enter their website. At first (and actually second) glance you will not notice anything hinting at the possibility to customize a ring. The configuration options do become visible, however, once you have decided upon one of the preconfigured designs. These can then be individualized using a wide variety of options. Possible combinations of gold, silver and gems of all kinds range from 150 to 2.5 million Euro. Certainly something in this for everybody.

However, from my own testing I found it hard to even find out that you can individualize the rings. You have to actually select one before a respective button appears and that could be a serious usability drawback in my opinion as many potential customers might not even recognize the potential of the store. It does, however, explain why about 40% of their sales are actually preconfigured, non-customized rings. Anyways though, with the average customer leaving between 400-500 Euro in their shop, the concept will certainly be profitable – especially since there are very low fix costs.

Next up was Stickvogel, a promissing start-up which specialized in embroiding and etching all kinds of motives into all kinds of goods. Lately they teamed up with major retailer Butlers, offering custom stitching to customers in Butlers' shops. This B2B customization service concept will certainly be exciting to follow over the (hopefully) next years.

Closing presentation of this panel was helt by Carina Schichl and Tanja Sieder, representing their business for unique custom travel guides, Nectar&Pulse, based on insider tips by what they call "soulmates" rather than generalized all-round information. Locals give their best tips for tourists which are then, upon checking, transformed into nicely layouted guides. While this is certainly an interesting idea per se, the issue I see with it is that the product might not be easy to market. As Schichl and Sieder pointed out, their target group originally were younger people. Instead, most of their customers are 30+. While their choice of age clustering is certainly debatable (and lead to one of the mentioned running gags of this conference), this raises the question: do they actually have the right product for the right market? If their average customer's age is above what they expected, they would likely be well advised to adapt to a different kind of information and layout which fits the needs of this target group better.

Next up was the retail panel. Moderator Jochen Krisch (excitingcommerce) did an outstanding job leading through an exciting lineup of big names: Former Bundesliga-athlete Sven Renz showed how his product line of completely customized ski/sports shoes has blessed his company with a yearly growth of 20-50%. However, I expect there to be an even larger potential in this market, seeing how ErtlRenz still "only" sold 2400 pairs of shoe at their peak last year.

Original images copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, collage copyright TIM Group, all rights reserved!

Some captures of the exhibition. Click to enlarge!

Claudia Kieserling, winner of this year's much-noticed Million-Dollar-Challenge by Zazzle, gave a short overview of individual shoe manufacturer selve, showing off some of the models availible to women around the world and giving some interesting insight upon questions from the audience. She especially stressed the importance of the customer's shopping experience, which should be more than just pushing a button and receiving a cardboard box.

A great final presenation in this block came from Max Kickinger. His soundbranding company is known for its work with some major companies like Porsche, Swarovski and many more. Commenting on a truly excellent video he explained how companies use clever sound branding to gain the consumers attention – often without him realizing to be guided towards the "right" shelve – and the checkout counter!

Following another networking break, the final panel of the day: The configurator panel, presented and moderated by Alexander Felfering of Graz University, had the technical side of customer integration covered.

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

Coffee-Break is over, back to the conference room, Alp-Style!

Andreas Falkner (SIEMENS) spoke about the challenges of complex product configuration, especially where multiple dependencies between customizable factors are to be respected (a good example why companies should reffer to an expert instead of just trying to headjump into the MC market).

Marc Herling of Lumo Graphics demonstrated how the use of 3D-configurators can be a blessing for the consumer who can imagine the to-buy product way better than it would be the case with just some images. With more advanced configurators, he says, the concept of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) will more and more be replaced by YGWYW – You

[actually] Get What You Want.

On the other hand, developing a really well working, appealing 3D-configurator takes a lot more than the amount of work it costs to "just" shoot said product images. Hence, as with so many cases of exploiting new technological opportunities, its a balancing act and might often not be profitable for small companies.

HYVE's Volker Bilgram was up next. In his "Toolkits for Gamification" speech he explained how and why the aspect of playing – adding features that make the process of configuring/buying a product more fun than just an annoying act of shopping – can contribute to a retailer's sales figures. Again: If done correctly!

To complete this panel, Klaus Pilsl of IndiValue spoke about web based configurators and their part in the customer's shopping experience. His company is about to launch a major new "configurator as a (web) service" — something that has been tried for many years, but now finally may become true.

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!My personal conclusions of this year's MC2012:

 (1) MC has great potential to significantly improve a company's sales figures and customer brand loyalty. However, to make it work successfully, more is needed than just to put up a fancy-looking configurator and then wait for clients.

Especially the dialog with the (potential) client is and will be even more important in the future, as more and more companies employ easily accessable social platforms like Facebook to communicate with their crowd. And a lot of both promissing start-ups and established companies could profit immensely from experienced coaching since, as Christoph Ihl had pointed out at the very beginning, even the right choice of customization options (not to be confused with as many options as possible!) can make or break your MC business. 

(2) Mass Customization needs to be less outcome-driven and to be looked upon from a higher, more meta-perspective to develop it further. I believe we know a lot about nice and perhaps even profitable BtoC consumer products. But what about MC services that tackle some of our true global challenges?

(3) Finally, the German MC community really is a nice crowd of great individuals, very eager to collaborate, to share ideas and experiences, and to network!

Looking back on a fantastic conference I truly want to thank everybody who made this possible, may it be as a speaker or a guest, an exhibitor or supportive staff member. Special thanks do go to my dear co-hosts Paul Blazek and of course Dominik Walcher, who did an outstanding job organizing this large event with his team at Salzburg University!

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

(Most of) our speakers! Click to enlarge!

26 06, 2012

Featured Research: Collaborating with Customer Communities: Lessons from the Lego Group

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:43+00:00 Juni 26th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies|

Our series on featured research articles continues. Today I want to recommend a paper by fellow researchers Yun Mi Antorini (Aarhus University) and Albert M. Muñiz, Jr. (DePaul University, Chicago) as well as Tormod Askildsen (LEGO Group). They tell the story of how LEGO learned to use sophisticated crowd interaction for mutual benefit and explain some core rules of co-creation.

MIT sloan review coverCollaborating With Customer Communities: Lessons From the LEGO Group

By: Yun Mi Antorini, Albert M. Muñiz, Jr.and Tormod Askildsen

Availible at: MIT Sloan Review

 

Lego users have a long tradition of innovation and sharing their innovations with one another — activities that the Internet has made much easier.Long before evreyone was talking about co-creation and user  communities, LEGO fans had "Lugnet", a universe of niche communities of people sharing their creations in LEGO.

As Lego managers became more aware of innovations by the company’s adult fans, the managers realized that at least some of the adult fans’ ideas would be interesting to the company’s core target market of children.

Historically, Lego was an extremely private company that tightly controlled its products and intellectual property. The company’s public position was “We don’t accept unsolicited ideas.”

However, things began to change in the late 1990s following the introduction of a new line of kits called Lego Mindstorms, which contained software and hardware to create small customizable and programmable robots. Sophisticated users found ways to hack into the code and adapt the new products; they talked about their innovations on independent websites.

This presented Lego management with a choice: either pursue legal action against the hackers or invite users to collaborate on new products and applications. The company concluded that litigation would be difficult and costly — and also that there could be significant advantages to collaborating with users.

Through trial and error, Lego has developed a solid understanding of what it takes to build and maintain profitable and mutually beneficial collaborations with users.

In their paper, Antorini, Muniz and Askildsen examine the emergence of Lego’s user communities, how management’s involvement with user groups has evolved and the five core principles that Lego has formulated for successful interaction with its user groups:

  • To be clear abour rules and expectations
  • To ensure a win-win
  • To recognize that outsiders are not insiders
  • Not to expect one size to fit all (different approaches/ platforms might be needed for different audiences) and
  • To be as open as possible

Read the full article at MIT Sloan Management Review!

25 06, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 8): Mymat: Customized Doormats for a Successful First Impression

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:48+00:00 Juni 25th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, MC/OI on the Web, MC500, Personalization|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!

 

Today: Style the Ground You are Walking on!

Here in Germany, sunny days are sparse. They only occure on workdays and the sun usually hides behind thick rainy clouds the moment you leave the office. To keep your home free of dirt, doormats are the tool of choice. However, as the saying goes, "there is no second chance for the first impresson". With this in mind – and especially if you get a lot of people to visit you frequently – you might want to fine-tune the first impression of your home by designing your very own custom doormat.

German MC-Company Mymat.de has you covered in this regard, with a wide variety of either pre-designed or personalized mats. Their simple yet efficient configurator lets you pick from a number of templated which you can then customize with your desired size, color, symbols and text and have it shipped to your doorstep – right where it belongs. So if you are considering moving to Germany or do have bad weather of your own, check out their website at www.mymat.de.

Mymat

Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

20 06, 2012

Market Watch: mi adidas Team: Adidas Launches Customization Portal for Sports Teams, Lets You Fly Your Colors

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:54+00:00 Juni 20th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Footwear, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization, Sneaker, T-Shirts|

Copyright adidas, www.adidas.com, all rights reserved.Adidas, major sports gear manufacturer from Herzogenaurach, Germany, is likely known to everybody around the globe.

Since 2000, adidas has been engaging in the market for customized sportswear. Their mi adidas program offers convenient online configuration of your favorite clothing and adds some extra motivation to your sporting efforts. It has been one of my favorite case studies and examples of mass customization in my presentations.

After 12 years of successful mass customization targeting individual athletes, adidas now took the next logical step, enabling not only the individual but also the entire team to design their own individual yet affordable uniforms. Mi adidas Team is the latest addition to the mi-family of adidas customization platforms. And from a business perspective, this may be the trigger to finally scale up MC at adidas.

Copyright adidas, www.adidas.com, all rights reserved!

Configuration process on PC. Click to enlarge!

Amateurs and professionals, youth and adults alike, from schools, universities, leagues and clubs can style a wide variety of footwear, apparel and accessoires. The team's crest, sponsor logo, player number or team name can be applied on the items which are also customizable by picking from 15 base colors.

Sportswear you look and feel great in is one factor adding to your (perceived) victory chances, fan support is another. Well aware of the importance of your supporters, adidas also offers the option to customize a number of off court items for fans, coaches etc.

In the spirit of good sportsmanship, adidas extends the idea of teamwork from the field to the computer: When you have created a design you are happy with, the configurator lets you share your concept with your teammates, management and sponsors via facebook, twitter, email or blog integration.

Once the final look has been decided upon, adidas will ship your order to a dedicated adidas specialist retailer within 45 days.

Mi adidas Team is currently availible for eleven sports categories (running track and field, running cross country, rugby, baseball, football, basketball, handball, volleyball, American football, TECHFIT® training and select Olympic sports) on 16 markets (USA, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

For those who prefer old fashioned personal collaboration over online social media, mi Team has designed the platform with the use on mobile platforms in mind. It looks especially great on tablet PCs and allows you to design your new major league uniform right on your advancement party.

Copyright adidas, respecitve owners, www.adidas.com, all rights reserved!

Configurator demostration on a tablet PC. Click to enlarge!

It will be interesting to observe how this rather large addition to adidas' customization portfolio will develop and which impact it will have on the market of (semi-)professional team sports goods. More about mi adidas Team on the official website.

Concluding, these are the following three features that make the new mi adidas team customization site really interesting for me:

  • Moving from 1:1 customization to communities of users!  This is still one of the first team customization sites.
  • Building a multi-layered site that takes care of multiple stakeholders – players, equipment managers, coaches, moms, fans, retailers … this is one of the best configuration systems in this regard I have ever seen!  While the online cofiguration toolkit is "just" common good practice, I would say, this multi-stakeholder capability of mi adidas team is terrific!
  • Re-integrating the (independent) retailer back into the MC system. For a long time, MC moved direct, and away from retailers. With mi adidas team, the site also provides great opportunities for individual retailers to customize a sales pitch for a local team, based on a local set of garments.  By making independent retailers part of the system, Adidas may utilize these retailers as "brand ambassodrs" for customization.
18 06, 2012

MC2012 Exhibitor Preview: Hyve: Consumer Integration For Maximum Creative Power

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:59+00:00 Juni 18th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Crowdsourcing, Deutsch (in German), Events, MC/OI on the Web, Open/User Innovation|

MC 2012 banner compactHere another preview of our exhibitors at this year's edition of the MC2012, the upcoming German language conference on mass customization and co-creation.

Since the conference will be entirely in German language, so will be this post.

 

Hyve: Ideen finden, formulieren, verdichten, verwerten

Neben der eigentlichen Konferenz und dem Expertenworkshop bietet die MC-Conference Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihre innovativen Konzepte einer breiten Fachöffentlichkeit zu präsentieren. In den Räumlichkeiten der FH Salzburg stehen dafür großzügige Räumlichkeiten zur Verfügung, in denen wir auch in diesem Jahr wieder eine Reihe interessanter Aussteller begrüßen dürfen.

Besonders freuen wir uns über den Besuch der Münchener Innovationsagentur HYVE, die die Konferenz neben einem Vortrag zum Thema "Toolkits with Gamification" auch um eine eigene Ausstellung zu Kundeninteraktionssystemen bereichern wird.

HYVE unterstützt seit nunmehr 12 Jahren Unternehmen unterschiedlichster Branchen dabei, neue Lösungsansätze und Innovationsideen zu finden, in Worten greifbar zu machen, weiterzuentwickeln und in reale Produkte zu verwandeln.

Dabei ist der Name Programm: Hyve bedeutet Bienenstock und kaum ein Wort charakterisiert die größte Ideenbörse der Welt treffender als dieses. Das Internet vernetzt nicht nur Computer, es verbindet Menschen. Menschen mit Träumen, Wissen und konkreten Ideen zu allen nur erdenklichen Lebens- und damit Geschäftsfeldern. Die Chancen stehen also gut, dass die Lösung vieler Probleme, die Ihrem Team gerade Kopfzerbrechen bereiten, irgendwo im Netz bereits existiert – und sei es nur als Expertenwissen, das lediglich mit Ihrer Herausforderung in Verbindung gebracht werden müsste.

Die Größe und Komplexität des Internets erschwert aber leider auch die Kontaktaufnahme mit denjenigen Nutzern, die das benötigte Wissen oder innovative Ideen zum eigenen Produkt beitragen könnten.

HYVE bietet als Mittler zwischen den Bedarfen der Industrie und Wirtschaft sowie der Kreativ- und Wissensbasis der Internet-Community Lösungen, um die Intelligenz (und Emotion) des "Bienenstocks" zu filtern, zu verdichten und zu einer Problemlösung zu formen. Dabei stellt das Unternehmen alle notwendigen Dienstleistungen zur Lösungsfindung  bereit: von der klassischen Marktforschung über Ideenwettbewerbe und -Management, Lead User Ansätze, die Arbeit mit Communities, spezialisierte IT-Konzepte bis zum Industrial Design.

Nach einer Vielzahl erfolgreicher Projekte für und mit internationalen Partnern aller Branchen verfügt HYVE über einen enormen Erfahrungsschatz und umfassende Kenntnis der besten Methoden zur Unterstützung des Innovationsmanagements. Unternehmen, die für aktuelle oder zukünftige Projekte auf wirklich kompetente Unterstützung zurückgreifen wollen, finden in HYVE einen hervorragenden Ansprechpartner.

Community_researchRinge

HYVE und viele weitere spannende Aussteller präsentieren sich auf der MC2012. Mehr zu Ausstellung, Workshop und Konferenz auf der offiziellen Konferenzwebsite.

18 06, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 7): Proper Cloth: Custom Dress Shirts the Easy (and Affordable) Way

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:01+00:00 Juni 18th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, MC/OI on the Web, MC500, Personalization|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!

 

Also, just in case you somehow missed it, the MC2012, largest MC/OI conference in German language, will be heading off soon (28th/29th of june). So if you are going to be in the area, understand German and want to meet some really interesting MC/OI enthusiasts, the conference website has all the information you need. Would be glad to see you there in person!

Today: Dress Yourself with the Latest Fashion, Decide What is "in Fashion" Yourself

As I said in my last MC500 Post about Mission Bicycle, summer – if that's what you want to call it – has finally arrived in Germany. While (unfortunately) this does not mean that work would magically finish itself, at least one gets a chance to spend the evening outdoors (sometimes), may it be sitting on the terrace of a nice restaurant or taking a walk in the park.

Whether it will be the office or the park for you, what always comes in handy is a well-tailored, perfectly fitting dress shirt. While each of you will have a different idea of what "perfectly fitting" means, one place might have you covered for all your individual shirt needs.

Proper Cloth, founded in Delaware in 2008, offers a pretty complete customization experience when it comes to dress shirts, a fashion article which, as many of you will agree, tends to just not fit perfectly at some point or another. Proper Cloth's promiss is exactly that, a perfectly fitting shirt, tailored to your needs, based on a really well-made configurator which even shines where others lack by offering assistance in finding out your individual measures in various ways. Oh and, if configurators should not be your thing (unlikely as that is, seeing how you are visiting this website), they offer a variety of preconfigured shirt as well.

So whether you need a new shirt to wear with your favorite suit or a stylish untucked one for leasure, a visit at propercloth.com might be worth it for you.

Propercloth

Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

18 06, 2012

MC2012 Exhibitor Preview: Mein Kuscheltier-Tagebuch: Heartwarming Individualized Children’s Books, The Adventures of Your Favorite Pet

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:04+00:00 Juni 18th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Deutsch (in German), Events, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization|

MC 2012 banner compactDid you already book your ticket for this year's edition of the MC2012, the upcoming German language conference on mass customization and co-creation? I am looking forward to meeting you again (or for the first time, respectively).  To help you pass the time until the conference heads off on June 28th, here is another little preview on one of our exhibitors.

Since the conference will be entirely in German language, so will be this post.

 

Mein Kuscheltier-Tagebuch: Spielend lernen mit wunderschönen Geschichten

Neben der eigentlichen Konferenz und dem Expertenworkshop bietet die MC-Conference Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihre innovativen Konzepte einer breiten Fachöffentlichkeit zu präsentieren. In den Räumlichkeiten der FH Salzburg stehen dafür großzügige Räumlichkeiten zur Verfügung, in denen wir auch in diesem Jahr wieder eine Reihe interessanter Aussteller begrüßen dürfen.

Für alle, die kleine (Enkel-/Paten-/Adoptiv-…)Kinder haben, gibt es 2012 eine besondere Empfehlung. Die Pariser Agentur Typlume & Graphine bietet mit dem Projekt "Mein Kuscheltier-Tagebuch" allen Kindern die Möglichkeit, ihr allerliebstes Kuscheltier in lustigen Geschichten allerlei Abenteuer erleben zu lassen. So wird die Gutenachtgeschichte – mit dem Kuscheltier fest im Arm – zu einem ganz besonderen Erlebnis.

Eltern und alle, die mal wieder auf der Suche nach einem ausgefallenen Geschenk für die lieben Kleinen sind, können auf der Projektwebsite in einfachen Schritten ihr Wunschbuch konfigurieren. Neben dem Vornamen des/der zu Beschenkenden, einer persönlichen Widmung und dem Namen des Lieblingstieres (optional) werden dazu nur drei Fotos des plüschigen Spielkameraden benötigt.

Nach Abschicken der Bestellung wird das zuvor ausgewählte Buch individualisiert. Dabei werden neben dem Namen auch die hochgeladenen Bilder integriert und durch schön umgesetzte Photomontage in die Geschichte eingefügt. Das Ergebnis ist ein hochwertiges Buch zum Blättern, Vorlesen und Immerwiederanschauen, mit dem jüngere Kinder, je nach gewähltem Thema, spielerisch die Tierwelt, die Natur, den Bauernhof, die Pariser Innenstadt und viele weitere Motive kennenlernt.

Copyright Typlume & Graphine, www.mein-kuscheltier-tagebuch.com, all rights reserved!

Click to enlarge!

Alle Bücher können vor der Bestellung online durchgeblättert werden, für die sichere Abwicklung der Transaktion steht PayPal als Zahlungsweg zur Verfügung. Und um das Warten auf das persönliche Kuscheltiertagebuch etwas zu verkürzen, stehen auf der Website viele schöne Tiermotive zum kostenlosen Ausdrucken und Ausmalen bereit.

Mein Kuscheltier-Tagebuch und viele weitere spannende Aussteller präsentieren sich auf der MC2012. Mehr zu Ausstellung, Workshop und Konferenz auf der offiziellen Konferenzwebsite.

15 06, 2012

MC2012 Exhibitor Preview: UnserAller: Taking Care of Your Crowdsourcing Endeavors

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:11+00:00 Juni 15th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, Deutsch (in German), Events, MC/OI on the Web, Open/User Innovation|

MC 2012 banner compactDid you already book your ticket for this year's edition of the MC2012, the upcoming German language conference on mass customization and co-creation? I am looking forward to meeting you again (or for the first time, respectively).  To help you pass the time until the conference heads off on June 28th, here is another little preview on one of our exhibitors.

Since the conference will be entirely in German language, so will be this post.

 

UnserAller: Crowdsourcing für alle

Neben der eigentlichen Konferenz und dem Expertenworkshop bietet die MC-Conference Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihre innovativen Konzepte einer breiten Fachöffentlichkeit zu präsentieren. In den Räumlichkeiten der FH Salzburg stehen dafür großzügige Räumlichkeiten zur Verfügung, in denen wir auch in diesem Jahr wieder eine Reihe interessanter Aussteller begrüßen dürfen.

Unseraller_logo_colorFür alle, die zur Unterstützung ihrer Innovationsarbeit auf Co-Creation, also die Integration potenzieller Kunden und anderer Interessierter in die eigene Entwicklungstätigkeit setzen, haben wir in diesem Jahr einen ganz besonders interessanten Tipp: die Crowdsourcing-Experten von UnserAller. 

Dass Crowdsourcing ein enormes Potenzial hat, nicht nur neue Käufer auf die eigenen Produkte aufmerksam zu machen, sondern auch die richtigen Produkte richtig - also Zielgruppenkonform – zu entwickeln, ist mittlerweile kein Geheimnis mehr. Weltmarktführer der verschiedensten Branchen haben die Chancen erkannt und betreiben teils enormen Aufwand um diejenigen in die Produktentwicklung einzubinden, die ihre Wünsche letztlich besser kennen als jeder Marktforscher: die Kunden selbst. 

Aber auch mit kleinem Budget lassen sich durch Crowdsourcing messbare, die Erwartungen oft um ein Vielfaches übertreffende Ergebnisse erzielen. Vorausgesetzt, man weiß, wie es richtig geht. 

Ein Kernaspekt beim Einstieg in die Welt des Crowdsourcing ist die Etablierung eines geeigneten Kommunikationskanals zur "Crowd". Diesen zu konzipieren, softwareseitig zu entwickeln und zu betreuen erfordert Expertenwissen, Erfahrung und Ressourcen und ist eine der größten Hürden die es auf dem Weg zu offener Innovation zu überwinden gilt. 

Copyright Innosabi GmbH, www.innosabi.de, all rights reserved!

Click to enlarge!

Für alle, die nicht über eine eigene Marketingabteilung mit entsprechenden Fachkenntnissen verfügen, bietet die Münchener Agentur Innosabi eine spezielle Plattform, die mit einem Rundum-Sorglos-Paket die realisierung individueller Crowdsourcing-Projekte unterstützt: UnserAller.de

Unternehmen jeder Größe können nach Buchung eines auf ihre individuellen Anforderungen passenden Paketes konkrete Produkte zur Diskussion stellen oder Vorgaben machen, nach denen die Community (mit ca. 15.000 Mitgliedern eine der Großen in Deutschland) Vorschläge und Wünsche zu Neuentwicklungen äußern kann.

Die technische Umsetzung ist dabei angenehm einfach und übersichtlich gestaltet. Je nach gewähltem Leistungsumfang kann sie in die eigene Website, Facebook-Präsenz oder die UnserAller-Community eingebunden werden, können Marketingmaterialien bestellt oder eine besonders prominente Projektpräsentation ausgewählt werden.

Produkte, die in Zusammenarbeit mit der UnserAller-Community entwickelt wurden, können auf Wunsch im eigenen Onlineshop zum Kauf angeboten werden. Darüber hinaus bietet Innosabi auch eine individuelle Projektberatung, ein Angebot, von dem besonders solche Unternehmen profitieren können, die Crowdsourcing bisher noch nicht (intensiv) genutzt haben.

Copyright Innosabi GmbH, www.innosabi.de, all rights reserved!

Click to enlarge!

Für die (Käufer)Community bieten sich ebenfalls interessante Anreize zur Mitarbeit: konstruktive Beiträge, Verbesserungs- und Produktvorschläge werden über ein Punktesystem honoriert, Punkte lassen sich beispielsweise beim Einkauf im UnserAller-Shop in Rabatte umsetzen. 

Ein interessanter Ansatz ist auch das Vorschlagsportal, über das jeder Interessierte neue spannende Projekte vorschlagen kann. Wer sich also immer schon gwundert hat, wieso es ein bestimmtes Produkt noch nicht gibt, kann hier zum Erfinder werden.  

 Innosabi informiert auf dem eigenen und dem UnserAller-Blog regelmäßig über neue Projete und interessante Trends aus der Welt der Co-Creation. Mehr Informationen über die UnserAller-Plattform finden sich auch auf in der FAQ-Sektion der Projektwebsite.

Innosabi, die Köpfe hinter UnserAller, und viele weitere spannende Aussteller präsentieren sich auf der MC2012. Mehr zu Ausstellung, Workshop und Konferenz auf der offiziellen Konferenzwebsite.

12 06, 2012

MC2012 Exhibitor Preview: Wunschfutter: Benefiting from the Custom Pet Food Trend in Germany

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:17+00:00 Juni 12th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Deutsch (in German), Events, MC/OI on the Web|

MC 2012 banner compactDid you already book your ticket for this year's edition of the MC2012, the upcoming German language conference on mass customization and co-creation? I am looking forward to meeting you again (or for the first time, respectively).  To help you pass the time until the conference heads off on June 28th, here is another little preview on one of our exhibitors.

Since the conference will be entirely in German language, so will be this post.

 

Wunschfutter – Nicht irgendeins. Sondern meins.

Neben der eigentlichen Konferenz und dem Expertenworkshop bietet die MC-Conference Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihre innovativen Konzepte einer breiten Fachöffentlichkeit zu präsentieren. In den Räumlichkeiten der FH Salzburg stehen dafür großzügige Räumlichkeiten zur Verfügung, in denen wir auch in diesem Jahr wieder eine Reihe interessanter Aussteller begrüßen dürfen.

Dieses Jahr mit dabei ist das Team von Wunschfutter. Das junge Dortmunder StartUp hat sich auf individuell zusammengestelltes Futter für den besten (vierbeinigen) Freund des Menschen spezialisiert. Auf der Firmenwebsite finden Hundebesitzer einen komfortablen Konfigurator mittels dessen sich der individuell optimale Futtermix komponieren lässst – echtes Wunschfutter eben. Interessant: der Konfigurator geht dabei sogar auf das individuelle Aktivitätslevel des Tieres ein.

Wer sich über die ideale Ernährung für seinen Hund noch nicht im Klaren ist, findet umfangreiche und gleichzeitig intuitiv bedinebare Unterstützung im Futterberater. Nach Eingabe einiger Daten wie Alter, Größe und Gewicht, aber auch Allergien und Gesundheitsprobleme des Tieres empfielt die Software eine geeignete Futtermischung, die auf Wunsch direkt bestellt werden kann.

Wunschfutter bietet neben kostenfreiem Versand auch einen besonderen Service: wer sich vor seiner Bestellung von der Qualität des Angebots überzeugen will, kann auf der Website eine kostenlose Futterprobe ordern.

Wunschfutter
Abgerundet wird das Produktportfolio durch eine Auswahl von Snacks zur Belohnung oder für zwischendurch sowie eine Reihe fertiger Futtermischungen, die je nach Art und Lebensweise des Hundes ausgewählt werden können.

Wer tiefer in die richtige Ernährung seines Hundes einsteigen will, findet im Wunschfutter-Blog viele interessante und teils sehr umfangreiche Informationen, beispielsweise zu schlecht verträglichen Snacks oder Regeln zur optimalen Hundeernährung.

Wunschfutter und viele weitere spannende Aussteller präsentieren sich auf der MC2012. Mehr zu Ausstellung, Workshop und Konferenz auf der offiziellen Konferenzwebsite. Wir freuen uns auf Sie!

12 06, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 6): Mission Bicycle: Conquer the Streets Your Way

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:22+00:00 Juni 12th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, MC500|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!

 

Today: Individual Bicycles by Mission Bicycle

Summer has finally arrived in Germany (somewhat) and as every year this means people are enthusiastic to spend some recreational time outdoors.

Riding a bicycle is fairly popular here as in a lot of other countries (in the Netherlands, roughly one third of all trips are made by bike… biking in the Netherlands even has its own wikipedia entry…) and so many two-wheeled vehicles in different states of maintenance are being dusted off these days.

However, as with all means of transportation, every now and then it's time to replace your trusted-yet-old bike with something more modern (and fancy).

If this year's summer happens to be the beginning of your old bike's retirement, Mission Bicycle might be worth looking into for you. The California based company offers a simple-yet-convenient configurator which allows you to design the bike of your dreams from a large variety of availible parts. From the very basic frame to different handles, chains and even locks, most parts can be individualized in model and color. You can pick up your bike in their physical store in San Francisco, CA, or simply have it shipped to your doorstep in a multitude of countrys around the world. Including the Netherlands.

 

Mybicycle

Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

11 06, 2012

Market Watch: New MC Platform by RPI Helps Stationery Retailers to Jump onto Personalization Business

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:25+00:00 Juni 11th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Long Tail, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers|

Courtesy of RPI, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge!Personalized stationery like paper, photobooks, greeting cards etc. with your individual text or design printed on them are not exactly a new idea. They are, however, a widely popular product for those who wish to express themselves with something more individual than what your average mall has to offer. Hence, selling personalized stationery is an interesting market model.

Unfortunately it comes with the usual issues of offering individualized products: You need a well-working, easy to operate configurator that lets your customers design their goods. You also need to have them printed and shipped within a relatively short amount of time. This as well as all the complementary logistics can be a severe obstacle on the path to the personlization market place.

If you are on the fence about offering individual stationery of any kind – may it be as a sole business model or to complement your already existing brand – you might be interested in investigating RPI's new storefront solution, specifically designed for stationery products. RPI hence is following the course of Zazzle, Cafepress, or other companies that successfully have established a MC platform.

I met the company on the last MCPC conference and was impressed from the general MC knowhow in their field. According to the company's latest press release their new can be "seamlessly embedded into any retailer's existing website" and let your customers choose from "hundreds of personalized products". RPI will take care of all the printing and delivery work so you can focus on your core business.

With the same press release we also learned about RPI's Courtesy of RPI, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge! new special product line for retailers in the  growing market of the pet industry. This might be a promissing approach, seeing how, according to Mintel, 76% of cat or dog owners consider their pets to be family members. If products like the "Woof Card" and the "Furfolio" (pet-) photo book sound appealing to you or if RPI's special cards for "fur-nouncements" to family and fellow pet owners are just what you need, you might want to check out their respective website for this product line, www.woofcards.com.

 

29 05, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 5): PersonalNovel: Your Book, Your Story

By | 2018-06-14T06:56:34+00:00 Mai 29th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, MC500|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!

 

Today: Personalized Books by PersonalNovel

Technology is something great. But at times, after a long day's challenging work, tied to computers, emails, cell phones etc. you might want to disconnect for a while. Sit back in your favorite chair and relax with a good book of your choosing. Not just any book, though. Your book. Your very own personal novel (or thriller, children's book….) in which you are the main character, a book personalized to read like it has been written just for you.

 PersonalNovel has been a pioneering company to turn this dream into physical reality, coming to you in the form of a nicely printed book, customized through an online editor to match the main character to your persona – or anybody else you would like to read about.

I am especially impressd by PersonalNovels dedication to get also small details correct, and their innovative business model turning a simple product into a new value preposition.

 

Click to enlarge!
Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.

8 05, 2012

Featured Companies from the MC500 (Part 3): Selve – women’s best friend

By | 2018-06-14T06:57:26+00:00 Mai 8th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Footwear, MC500|

MC500_Signet_2012In our series of postings introducing companies that performend very well in our Customization 500 study, we are introducing the next mass customizer. Remember:  The order of these feature postings is more or less randomly!

 

Today: Women's best friend, custom shoe supplier SELVE.

Feet are by far not as standardized as the shoe industry would like them to be. Neither is the individual customer's taste in shape, color and details. Until a decade ago the only way to obtain shoes that do both fit perfectly and look exactly as one wants them to, was to take a rather pricy trip to the cobbler. Selve went new ways with their offer to tailor shoes, custom built to the client's demands in individual size and look, shipped to your doorstep after a convenient visit at www.selve.net. (even if most customers prefer to visit their store in Munich or London for a personal consultation and foot scan).

More info: Selve's chairwoman Claudia Kieserling will be telling more about the selve-concept at this year's edition of the GERMAN Mass Customization Meeting, the MC2012, helt on the 29th of june in Salzburg, Austria.

 

Selve_mc500

Note: Please see this post for detailed information on how to interpret the above data.