Believe it or not, The UK is considered as one of the leading countries in the world in the use of the internet. Our ecommerce brands are amongst the best with a wide divergence of products and services, beyond that of many competitors from even the most developed countries. The internet has transformed our lives, probably to the deteriment of town centre shopping, but our use of the internet for purchasing has allowed our spare time to be freed up for other leisure activities. Gone are the days of trudging around shops seeing the same ranges as last week, because you have to, Saturday afternoons are more likley to be spent surfing and sailing rather than shopping!
One of the main drivers that has helped progress our ecommerce usage is the personalisation market. We have always produced the odd personalised funny t shirt, typically found on market stalls and niche shops, but personalisation is now a key driver for many businesses. The internet has created a more level playing field for small and large businesses, stnadard products are now bought primarily on price, other factors are secondary where a product has few differentiating features and is available from multiple outlets. Price competition on the internet is now so fierce in many markets that making a profit is nearly impossible.
One of the primary mechanisms that the online industry has found for creating growth is personalisation. The explosion in personalised birthday, gift and event cards was a significant driver. The personalised card and printing websites proved that you can build a significant and efficient business based on personalisation that is worth millions. The development of technologies has helped expand this to other consumer based areas with a range of personalisation machniery now within the grasp of small businesses, the market has exploded.
Helped by the development of online market places that have promoted small businesses, the range of personalised products has allowed small and large businesses to tailor products to customer needs. From niche reailers such as Guilty that provide the Guilty engraved silver bangle range
, personalised pint glasses from Amazon, keepitpersonal.co.uk and buyatankard.com to Goldgenie's 24k gold plated iPhones, watches and virtually anything you want. Personalation is here and if your business is in retail and doesn it's customers with custom personalised products, guess what, your competitors will do.
Even everyday products that have always been bland with very little differentiation are now tailored to your specific needs. Sure, you could always buy a supercar that was built for you but now even the mass produced car market offers a huge range of options. The Mini range specifically has developed a reputation for offering a huge level of customisation online, it is like designing your own car.
The moral of the story is that the world has changed and if your business doesn't adapt, others will move ahead of you. It's not always just about selling at the lowest price, offering alternatives that mean something to the customer who buys from you, allows you to keep ahead of the game. If you want to stay ahead, try thinking of different routes for personalising your products.