January 17, 2012

Personalized Merchandise

We frequently think about the Transitional customer as one who uses various channels to purchase merchandise.

We don't always think about "the merchandise".

Transitional customers are exhibiting behaviors that are not "Traditional" in nature.  Take this example, from the NHL store.  When you order a Vancouver Canucks sweatshirt, you are allowed to personalize the sweatshirt with logos in three different places ... front, right arm, and back.

Now, the NHL charges you a few dollars each time you personalize something.  This is good for the NHL, good for the customer, and good for the marketer/analyst.

Why is it good for the marketer/analyst?  Well, you record the information in your database.  This little tidbit tells you something about the mindset of the customer.  This customer isn't settling for what everybody else purchases, this customer wants something unique and interesting.

Twenty years ago, when I worked at Lands' End, we recorded monogramming information in our database.  Men who monogrammed shirts, for instance, had better long-term value than did the guy buying a typical shirt ... women who monogrammed towels had better long-term value as well.  The database analyst needs to tabulate this information, then link it to future behavior, much like the analyst would analyze any new marketing channel.

From a marketing standpoint, this customer is telling you that s/he is different, open to personalized merchandise.  This gives you opportunities to market new products, or newly personalized products to this customer.

Personalized merchandise is bound to be a trend, we can all see that.  Recording and acting upon personalized merchandise in your database should give you a competitive advantage.