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

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,


About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.