Why Your Startup Needs to Offer Custom Services
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Customization services — ranging from simple customization options at checkout to full-fledged configurators — allow customers to tweak a product to their liking. Many startups provide custom services that enable their clients to implement features ranging from configurable product designs to unique specifications for industrial parts.
These custom services are a great way to provide extra value for customers. They can also yield some surprising additional benefits.
These five reasons show why your startup needs to offer custom services for enhanced brand value:
1. Reach Customers With Unique Needs
One size doesn’t always fit all. Some customers will have needs that make the standard set of products or services less effective than they could be. These clients may need a consultation or unique prototype, or they might just need to purchase a product that’s a better fit for the problem they have.
Offering custom services shows that your business is aware of these unique needs and is willing to work with customers or clients to solve their problems. It can also help you secure brand loyalty. When no one else was willing to go the extra mile, your company stepped up to provide a truly custom product.
Even small tweaks can make a big difference. Variations in product specifications — like size, material or pattern — can make your offerings more workable for a wider variety of customers.
Offering customization can cost you — products and services sold at scale are typically cheaper to produce or put into place. However, you might make up the difference within your pricing model and by benefiting from the customer loyalty that customization services can build. Research from Deloitte suggests that one in five customers are willing to pay a 20% premium for customization services.
You can also take advantage of tools that allow businesses to personalize finished goods, minimizing production costs on customized items.
2. Generate Leads With Custom Services
Customers are also willing to provide information in exchange for customized offerings. According to the same Deloitte report, 22% of consumers would provide personal data to a company for a custom product.
You can use configurators and customization services to collect customer information — like contact info, preferences or needs — and generate leads.
Hard Chrome Specialists, a Pennsylvania-based metal finishing company, highlights the custom fabrication services it offers its audience. A sidebar on the right side of the screen provides a form for potential customers to go directly from reading about the services to requesting a quote.
The form allows users to select what kind of service they need — plating, hydraulic repair or something else — and attach a brief message. It’s a great way to streamline communication and simplify the sales funnel. With a well-placed form, customers don’t need to send an email and can instead get in touch right away.
Any business can use customization pages or configurators in a similar way. When designing your business’s site, you can make tweaks to navigation — like lead forms — to help customers move straight from research to getting in contact or buying an item.
3. Know What Your Customers Want
It can be difficult to predict or accurately gauge customer needs, even with good tools and robust data-collection practices. Configurators and customization services can make it easier for your business to know what your customers want.
Data on how customers are using your configuration services — the options they select and the products they create — can be extremely valuable. For example, this info may show you that consumers want more options for a given item. You may also see high demand for specific configurations of a product. This can signal that your patrons need goods with certain combinations of features or design elements.
4. Break Down a Complex Product Catalog
For some businesses — like nutrition or skincare companies — your customers may have a wide range of background knowledge about the market you’re in. Some may know exactly what they need for their specific problem and want detailed information on product specifications or ingredients. Others may have limited knowledge but still want solutions to their problems.
Customization services can help here. If customers know what problems they have, but don’t know how to fix them, an online configurator that runs through common issues can provide recommendations and guidance.
Skyn, an Iceland-based skincare company, shows an example of this idea in practice with their configurator. The configurator asks a visitor for information about their skin type and the problems they’re having — like wrinkles, acne, inconsistent texture or dullness.
Once a visitor has filled out all the options, the configurator will generate a complete skincare routine. Users can instantly add the entire routine to their online cart, or only purchase the products that tackle a specific problem.
Skyn offers a wide range of products. While the company provides features that help customers navigate their catalog — like product categories and bundles — this customization tool is a great way to introduce specific items and explain how they work. It may also help shoppers feel like their particular needs are being directly targeted.
5. Help Customers Visualize Your Products
It can be hard to tell how a product will really look before you receive it — especially when ordering a customized item. You may not know how a given piece of furniture will look with a certain pattern or material. You may also wonder whether a piece of equipment will fit in a room functionally.
Custom services and configurators can help your customers visualize a product’s final look and design before ordering it.
Aiaiai, a Denmark-based audio design company, offers a fitting example with their configurator. As a user changes the headphones design, the graphic on the left on the screen updates. This gives the user instant feedback on what the final product will look like, providing a better idea of how it will fit and feel.
Customization Can Provide Serious Value for Your Startup
New tech has made a wide range of custom services — like configurators, personalization options and custom specs for orders — possible for businesses and startups of all sizes. These custom services can be a major value-add for your customers. They can also help your business in a few other ways — providing your startup with extra data on customer preferences and, potentially, garnering some leads.
Adding these services to your startup may require some investment in new tech or design work, but the benefits will often outweigh these costs.
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
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