It’s fair to say that elevated customer experiences have been a hot agenda item for any forward-thinking brand and retailer, when piecing together their plans over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, it remains a top priority of the bold innovators among us, and the questions still remains as to how we truly engage with the customer in a market where consumers are overwhelmed by choice.

Offering an ‘experience’ is great but we want to take things one step further and offer a real retail moment, customising the experience to every individual taking part. We believe to achieve this, customisation of products and services should be a true consideration at retail, available in store, offering a sense of excitement where customers are encouraged to explore and celebrate their individuality whist engaging with a brand.

Brands that seek to achieve a personal connection will undoubtedly benefit from sharing their stories with their audience and vice versa. This approach where purpose, individuality and free expression of both consumer and brand allows relationships to thrive.

With a customised experience, people are 44% more likely to become repeat buyers, and 22% are likely to share positive comments or post on social media. Designing a moment that allows customers to take pride in their own personality, values and beliefs is key for both the individual and the brand. The experience become heightened making products and services something special, something worth holding onto, something that’s owned and truly theirs.

In Bangkok, Ripcurl launched a co-creation space with Future Lab, taking their consumer through an experiential journey. Firstly, through an exhibition which takes you through the past and future of skating, connecting the consumer with their role in their wider community and heritage. Secondly, through an opportunity to purchase and customise (there and then) skateboards and matching gear, allowing them to inject their own individuality into their community. Thirdly, an opportunity to take part in a skate school, bringing their community to them with an opportunity to immerse themselves into it.

The skate subculture is one for the ‘outsiders’ and the ‘misfits’ but also one that brings so many together, no matter the experience level, age, race, gender and so on. Ripcurl and FutureLab have been able to intergrate this ethos into their collab, whether attending alone or as part of a group, it brings a sense of community to your experience.

Florentine Kitchen Knives is an example of a personalisation being a key theme throughout their product offering. In its early days of concept, the idea was focused around creating a product which is entirely personalised to your needs. From the blade material to the handle material, to the colours and to having it etched with your own words. It came to life initially online but took to its own store, which shares a space with the workshop, in 2018. Providing customers with the opportunity to have that one-on-one relationship with the ‘maker’ rather than the marketeer, the sales advisor and so on. When purchasing a tool, whether it be for your hobby or career, there’s an element to a well-constructed, personalised tool that can’t be found in a usual shopping encounter, no matter the price.

Selfridges recently launched it’s 5-year sustainability plan and through this the Repairs Concierge was born last year, collaborating with after-care for luxury fashion businesses, included The Restory. The Restory can revive luxury handbags and shoes. The reason we have chosen this is because its customisation but the other way round, part of The Restory’s service offering is if you have a leather bag or shoe and your tired of say, the colour, they can change this for you by hand painting the item or additions of different leather. The items they specialise in are items that most of us will buy with the hope that they will be with us forever. Whether its wear or tear or simply falling out fashion, they can sometimes be left at the bottom of the wardrobe for years. This initiative is to save this from happening thus helping that little bit more toward the planet by restoring and repurposing.

A store can no longer just be ‘a store’, neither can it achieve what brands are striving to achieve through basic elements of design. We believe the holy grail lies within two initiatives. One being that of customisation, offering the ability to tailor the product and experience to your brand ambassadors. Secondly, we don’t speak of customisation purely in a way that simply adds your name onto a product.

The modes of personalised experiences need to go deeper. In some instances, why even produce a product at all? Why not have raw materials for a complete unique customisation experience. Better, yet why not encourage customers to bridge the old and the new by creating a ‘new’ product from pre-owned items. Invite loyal customers to participate in a perishable moment, offer access to parts of the brand that talk to individuals’ interests.

A personalised experience is the key to a healthy, long-term relationship with the customer. Sharing these moments builds loyalty between the two. It can be a hard one to get right, to avoid the gimmicks and design something that truly connects with a brand’s audience. Nevertheless, when the connection is right it can produce something special, something that lives beyond the moment, and something that those who promote flat, un-tailored and ill-considered experiences will never achieve.

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