Infinite Possibilities with Personalized Products

Ecommerce product customizers, like NikeID, offer a unique opportunity for your visitors to create their own customized version of your product. While this is great for your customers, it presents several technical and logistical hurdles.  Get ready, this technology is now ready for prime time.

The team here at F3G was lucky enough to develop the Phantom Create board short customizer for Hurley, and I will base this post off our experiences on that project, but the concepts should apply to everyone.

I have to admit that I was skeptical as to how willing visitors would be to pay a premium for a custom product, but as I see the proliferation of customizers across ecommerce sites, and the total success of our own clients Phantom Create boardshort customizer at Hurley, I was dead wrong. Now that I’m a believer, let’s discuss what goes in to integrating a product customizer into your ecommerce site.  For this post, I’m going to assume you already determined that offering personalized products makes sense for you business and offers value to your customers.

Possibly the most difficult part of making all this happens is the logistics.  You’ll have to figure out how to get unique work instructions to your factory so they can make your product to the customers specifications.  You’ll have to consider all the gotchas that go along with inventory management, shipping, custom embroidering, and UPC codes for a product with nearly infinite (not quite) customizations and that isn’t really stocked.  Not to mention how all your back office systems handle this unique use case.  Make sure you have those conversations early with all stakeholders to make sure this is something your organization can pull off. We worked closely with Hurley to ensure that the whole was seamlessly integrated and that the average turn-around was two weeks.

Now that all the logistics are out of the way, let’s focus on the fun stuff – the design.  For Hurley, we needed to design an intuitive interface for designing boardshorts.  After several iterations, we finalized on the interface you see today.  We also incorporated several social aspects that improve the experience and allow users to share their designs.  Social sharing was an obvious choice as it not only offers free advertising, but also fosters creativity among the community.  Giving users options as a starting point and the ability to see other designs gives customers a good place to start over just a blank canvas.  In the end, we think we designed an easy-to-use interface for a process that could easily be overwhelming if done wrong.

Clearly there are a lot of moving parts to selling your personalized products online, but there are now plenty of examples and lessons learned to help you get there.