The Role of Product Customization in the Growing B2C vs. D2C Divide
Successfully selling a product online comes down to a company's ability to present a customer with an offer and close the sale. Companies that engage in direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing have an advantage in that they're cutting out the middle man, and product customization can help them do just that.
If you're a company that sells products online D2C, know that you'll be competing against eCommerce retailers who may have more financial resources than you do. That's why you'll want to equip your website with the right features to create the best customer experience possible.
One of the best ways to do that is to enable your customer to build personalized, customized products.
As D2C and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses compete for customers' attention and money, they'll both look to employ different strategies and tactics to lead. Here's the role product customization can play for D2C businesses building their online brand.
The Distinction Between B2C and D2C
The difference between B2C and D2C companies is simple. With a B2C company, an individual consumer buys from a retailer or a wholesaler.
With D2C, the customer is buying directly from a company that creates the product.
The advantage is that there's a more personal connection between the company and the customer here. The customer has much more say in the buying process, and it's likely to engender greater customer loyalty.
The problem D2C companies run into is that they often have fewer resources at their disposal to attract customers. B2C companies often have a bigger market share and more economic support to prepare an attractive offer.
If you're a D2C company, you'll need to counteract your competitors' resources with an easy-to-use platform that allows them to personalize their products.
Empowering the Customer Through Customization
Whether a customer chooses a B2C or D2C option, they all want something similar: a uniquely personal experience that speaks to them on a human level.
One way D2C sites can do that is by providing customization options.
With the use of a product configurator, they can allow customers to do more than select their item. They give them a hand in shaping how it looks.
Consider one example: an online store that manufactures t-shirts.
Most online retailers give the customer the ability to choose the size and the color. But when offering product customization, you can also empower them to choose:
- The design
- The fabric
- Sleeves (cutoffs vs. long sleeves, for example)
This isn't just true for t-shirts, either. You can apply it to just about any product you can create online.
You equip your shoppers with the power of choice. No matter what your product is, you provide the customer with limitless options on how it can look or serve them.
For a D2C brand, this is a definite advantage over a B2C company that may not have mass customization functionality. Customers are looking for a more personal touch that you'll be able to give them.
Click here to learn more about the value of offering easy product customization.
Product Customization Turns the Customer Into the Designer
Of course, product customization isn't just an empowering tool that gives your customers options. It also helps turn them into an actual product designer.
Ultimately, no one knows what your customer wants or needs better than themselves. Companies can pour research and resources into determining what a customer needs, but to hear it directly from their mouths presents a unique opportunity.
That's exactly what customization does. You leave nothing to chance: you give the customer a simple tool with a simple interface and have them design the product of their dreams.
What they end up with is an exclusive product made with their own ingenuity and creativity. You can emphasize this in your marketing materials as a value-add for using your website.
You can craft blog posts or other content meant to inspire them to create specific kinds of products, serving as their creative partner in the process. But the design of the product will come down to what they want and need.
Product configuration turns you and the customer into a team in a way that B2C companies just can't offer as effectively.
D2C Companies Can Give Their Customers a Better View of the Final Product
What’s another major benefit of D2C companies offering visual product customization? It comes equipped with state-of-the-art technology that gives your customer a clearer, more comprehensive view of their product.
When you're appealing directly to the consumer, they'll want to be sure that what they're creating and ordering is exactly what they expect to receive. With a product customizer, there's no risk of confusion.
Threekit's product customization software taps into virtual photography, augmented reality and stunning, photorealistic 3D images to provide your customers with an accurate view of the product they're creating.
The best part? There's no lag time on these images. They're created instantly as the customer tweaks their own features in real time.
Product Personalization Leads to Stronger Customer Reviews
When your budget is limited as a D2C company, you need every competitive edge you can get on your larger competitors.
It's clear that product customization can help give you that edge — in more ways than you may realize.
When you give your customers the option to create customizable products in real time through your eCommerce platform, that's going to lead to an uptick in customer satisfaction. They'll come to appreciate the ability to make their own personalized products.
That leads to good word-of-mouth, which is often more powerful than paid advertising.
Building up positive reviews — both in-person and online — will draw more customers to your site. Your product customizer can help you generate those positive reviews.
You can even build this into your site design. For example, you include a popup that directs customers to leave a review in the appropriate place following a purchase.
If you're a D2C business, product customization is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from larger B2C competitors. You just have to choose the right tools to help make it a part of your online offering.