Friday, November 4, 2011

Customization of Product

Paul Sonne, Mink or Fox? The Trench Gets Complicated, The Wall St. J., Nov. 3, 2011, at D1

In the jewelry business many can customize a product; the most obvious is picking out an engagement ring setting then picking a diamond. This is a form of customization and most customers enjoy this service. Burberry is now trying out the possibility of customizing one of their famous trenches. They’ve created an interactive on-line program named Burberry Bespoke and a customer can pick and choose trim, sleeve details, lining and other features till they get the trench of their dreams. The cost will vary depending on the specifications picked and the cost can be astronomical.

 Gabrielle Buni Creations Estruscan Onyx and Diamond Ring

The Burberry brand believes this program will reinforce their luxury aspect since many people will not be able to purchase this coat due to the high cost. Apparently they are both trying to cater to their luxury clientele and create a buzz in social media. I think they are doing a good job. But is this “look what you can’t have” philosophy really a good way to heat up discussion on Facebook about a coat? There is so much anger directed at the top wage earners in our country right now that the wearing of this coat might trigger activism on the wearer. Kind of like back in the 80s when PETA threw red paint on women wearing fur coats.

Burberry takes their exclusivity one step further by not allowing certain combinations to exist in cyberspace. Apparently you can’t create anything “unfashionable” as deemed by the company, although there are 12 million combinations available. I trust that those who can afford this trench coat will be able to find exactly what they want with 12 million combos. There has been a lot of talk about customization and many websites have tools that allow a customer to pick and choose exactly what they want. It is quite popular on some jewelry websites. I’ve seen websites where you can pick color and size of a gemstone in a ring or pendant, to charms assembled on a bracelet. These features are very interesting and sometimes a lot of fun.

 Gabrielle Bruni Creation Estruscan Blue Topaz and Diamond Ring

While my website doesn’t have the budget for these fancy interactive features just yet, I can still customize a piece of jewelry found on my website, you just have to call me. I am not sure if this is helping or harming my website. Many people may not want to “interact” with a person to get what they want; they may enjoy the video game aspect of customization. I think it is important to still provide customer service and communication is a key element. Yes we can customize many of our pieces, yes I can send a picture in many cases, but no I don’t have a fancy program that allows customization without human interaction. These programs will definitely appeal to all those techie people out there on the web, but while I really enjoy shopping on-line, there is still something important about talking with a real human when you have a question. This will never go out of style or at least I hope not.

No comments:

Post a Comment