2018 is the year that personalization and choice will be a dominant theme for consumers. From customizing your TV lineup on Netflix, to choosing your own sleep number mattress, hyper-customization is here to stay and has shifted our consumption behaviors. Even capital intensive and complex industries, such as automotive and insurance, are adapting their products. Tesla now allows consumers to customize a car and have it delivered, Progressive created tools to customize insurance coverage.
Consumers not only want their goods to be hyper customized, they also have an expectation to be treated as individuals, no matter how large the brand their dealing with. The rise of technology has changed relationship between brands and consumers. Social networks have facilitated communication but this also puts tremendous pressure on a company. Now, a customer can tweet at the brand and if there’s not a near immediate response the relationship is at risk.
Adapting to this choice revolution and expectation for individual treament is important because consumers are looking for more than just the transaction. Choice facilitates discovery and makes the consumer an active participant in the process. There is a sense of consumer pride when they feel they had complete control over their decision in a purchase and feel connected to the brand behind the object.
I’ve been fortunate to realize early on how much the age of choice is driving the industry in a new direction. My company Loop & Tie is the only gifting solution designed to match this consumer shift. Through the notion of gifting a collection of options, we replace the dated gifting practice of sending the same product to everyone. Instead, the recipient is invited into a branded digital choice experience. The recipient chooses the item they value the most and it’s shipped to their doorstep. Creatively packaging choice is the key to scalable personalization. Our gifters can select from pre-curated Loop & Tie collections ranging from $25-$500 or gift their own products. Loop & Tie’s first-to-market technology keeps the price hidden from users, but gives them the power to choose the gift most suitable to them. We bring efficiency to existing gifting behaviors and expand how gifting is used as a customer interaction. Gifting becomes a source of data and a new communication channel.
Technology has created a hyper customization expectation among consumers that will ultimately leave winners and losers. Amazon has fostered a norm that shoppers can have any product they want delivered cheaply and quickly. The endless availability of products and information just a click away, has not only facilitated consumer choice, it has shifted the power, giving consumers leverage over the big corporations. Today, businesses that are customer-based and customer-centric are the ones that are going to succeed.
This is a guest post by Sara Rodell the CEO and founder of Loop & Tie, a gift choice platform that lets businesses treat their customers to choices of unique gifts from makers around the US. After cutting her professional teeth in Wall Street finance at the top-tier UBS Investment Bank, Rodell set out to change the world of gifting with Loop & Tie. Recently, Loop & Tie won Dreampitch 2017, the world’s largest software conference.