Personalised products: 5 secrets of true personalisation

Personalising products differentiates brands and deepens their relationships with consumers, attracting new ones and driving loyalty. Yet today, personalisation typically comes down to choosing from a standard set of products. Technology and process limitations have stood in the way of true personalisation, where brands tailor products to a person’s unique biology, condition or preferences. But we’re now at a tipping point where we can deliver the diagnostic, technical and manufacturing solutions that underpin personalisation. In our experience, there are five enablers of truly personalised products:

  1. Scientific diagnostic technologies are becoming less expensive, more accurate and easier to use. They can leverage everything from sophisticated smartphone cameras to facial swabs analysed by laboratories.
  2. Manufacturing process innovation is making it possible for production lines to personalise products on demand and at mass production speeds and costs.
  3. Packaging innovations make it possible to use more sustainable materials and build closed loop recycling into the consumer experience.
  4. New delivery models, from last-mile supply networks to in-store vending machines, can get personalised products to consumers as and when they need them.
  5. Advanced data analytics are drawing insights into who uses a product, how they’re using it and how effective it is, making it possible to quickly improve products and extract more value from consumer data.

While bringing all these enables together is possible, it still isn’t easy to create and launch a truly personalised product. In our work with global consumer and healthcare brands, we’ve learned there are five areas you need to focus on to be successful.

1.      Challenge your business model

The technical enablers of personalisation all open the door to new and more rewarding business models. So, consider a different approach, like D2C, subscriptions, returnable and reusable packaging or novel sales channels. All these offer ways to differentiate yourself in the market and create the opportunity to scale and learn quickly.

2.      Partner for speed

It’s unlikely you’ll have deep expertise across all the enablers of personalisation. So, look to partner with others who do cover the necessary specialisms. For example, if you can manufacture a truly personalised moisturiser but don’t know how to identify a person’s unique needs, partner with a company that has expertise in diagnostics. By bringing together organisations with different competencies, you can take a product to market faster.

3.      Behave like a start-up

Start-ups are quick to adapt: their funding and continued existence depends on it. Large corporations, on the other hand, don’t have the same pressure to develop products quickly. By creating an internal start-up and adopting a mindset that embraces risk-taking, innovation and rapid development, big brands can bring a pilot to market quickly, test it with consumers in the real world and iterate for continued success (without jeopardising the core business).

4.      Be technology agnostic

Technology is continuously evolving, so marrying a personalised product to a single technology platform risks it becoming obsolete as new features and benefits emerge and consumers switch platforms. Being technology agnostic also allows for partnerships across brands and platforms, introducing more opportunities for innovation and rapid evolution.

5.      Capture the end-to-end experience

Understanding how consumers are finding and using your product is crucial to continuously improving your personalised offering and building consumer loyalty. And using consumer technology, learning algorithms and analytics to understand consumer behaviour across the end-to-end experience will highlight opportunities for improvement and growth, letting you make evidence-based decisions.

You can offer truly personalised products

As more brands pursue personalisation across industries, consumers’ expectations of what good looks like will change. For big brands to stay relevant in this changing world, they must challenge their business models, build new partnerships, behave like a start-up, be technology agnostic and look at consumers’ end-to-end journeys. By focusing on these five secrets, they’ll be able to deliver radical new growth through truly personalised products.

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