If there’s one trend that has impacted consumer behaviour the most in recent memory, it’s personalisation. Today’s customers want products that feel unique and are tailored to their individual tastes and profile, whether it’s a t-shirt or a bespoke wallpaper for their home. This surge in interest for customised products and services is leading businesses to try to find new ways of delivering personalised experiences that go beyond items that just feature the customer’s name. After all, why have a football shirt with your name on the back when you could potentially customise the whole design for the shirt of your local team?
And that’s not all – in the age of ‘now’, where we’re able to make impulsive purchases in the space of a few screen swipes, we also expect to receive our items within 24 hours of placing an order. This presents something of a geographical challenge for the businesses that have traditionally invested in offshore manufacturing: if you want to be able to respond to consumer demand more promptly and turn orders around within that coveted 24 hour timeframe, you need to be physically closer to your customers. Think less global, more local.
Simply put, the journey from initial order to final dispatch needs to be much shorter. Throw in the strong demand for customised items and the challenge gets even trickier. It means that the pressure is on for sportswear manufacturing businesses, who need to be able to integrate on-demand, just-in-time production and mass customisation into their business model. Those that are unable to meet such demands are likely to lose their competitive edge.
So how do you go about it? If you want to thrive in an economy that is being increasingly driven by advancements in digital technology, a good starting point would be to adopt a digital mindset. That means operating less as an offline business and thinking more like an online enterprise. The digital platform for your business needs to be accessible to your customers, to focus entirely on their needs and try to make their purchasing experience more streamlined. Your website should be easy to navigate, transparent about prices and designed with users in mind, allowing you to provide a smarter, more dedicated customer service.
Once you’ve figured out the customer interface, there’s the small matter of production. Switching to an on-demand production model offers new, exciting freedoms, but you need to make your production environment more agile and responsive if you wish to capitalise on them. On-demand production and delivery within a very short timescale calls for automated workflows capable of handling several thousand single orders each day efficiently and reliably. Having the ability to track the progress of jobs at any stage in the production cycle, as well as the ability to relay this information to customers, is also a top priority. Workflow automation may well unlock superior productivity, improve overall efficiency of business management and even reduce costs, but it requires an investment on your behalf.
Either way you look at it, on-demand customisation represents an opportunity that is too exciting for sportswear manufacturers to pass up on. You can find out more about how your business could benefit from investing in on-demand customisation by attending one of our dedicated seminars on the subject at the Triathcon feature at Sportswear Pro 2020 (24 – 27 March 2020, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid).
Visitor registration for Sportswear Pro 2020 is now open at: https://www.sportswearpro.com/registration
For free entry, please enter code SWPM209 when registering online.