Fashion brands and retailers have long considered the possibilities of personalizing their products for individual consumers, but few brands offer such services today. However, consumers are keen. Our new research among 2,000 European and North American fashion consumers shows 84% of them are interested in personalized products, rising to 94% among high-spending fashion enthusiasts. At the same time, a combination of new analytics capabilities and advanced design and production technologies are now making product personalization a viable proposition at scale.
Sizing up personalized fashion
How fashion retailers can meet the growing demand for customized products.
In fashion, personalization takes two essential forms: customizing the style, and tailoring to body shape. Customization means enabling consumers to co-create a piece—choosing colors, prints, fabrics, and style details from a predefined set of options. This can be brought to life in real-time with a digital 3D configurator tool that simulates the look and feel of the final product.
of consumers are interested in personalizing the color of a product, but only 17% of surveyed brands and retailers offer this option.
of consumers are interested in personalizing the fabric, application and trim, but only 7% of surveyed brands and retailers offer this option.
Tailoring allows the consumer to personalize a product based on the consumer’s individual body measurements. This has been commonplace in the luxury segment for a long time. But the technological and operational complexity involved has prevented its expansion into mainstream fashion, and while new technologies are starting to change this, there are still challenges to overcome. To get started on personalization, here are two priorities that brands and retailers need to address:
Priority 1: Harnessing the data
The most important enabler for product personalization? Ultimately, it’s having data on consumer behavior, preferences, and tastes. Gathering data and strengthening analytical capabilities is fundamental to the ability to match personalized offerings with consumer desires and expectations.
of consumers interested in product personalization are willing to share personal data to allow fashion brands to tailor and personalize a product.
of consumers interested in product personalization are willing to share body measurements to allow fashion brands to tailor and personalize a product.
Priority 2: Rethink operations
Brands and retailers also need to consider the operational capabilities and tools required to implement product personalization at scale. To be able to offer this across a broad product portfolio, brands need to embed standardized but flexible personalization capabilities across the full value chain. The sourcing function is a vital component of successful scaling of product personalization. Production flexibility and lead time rely heavily on a retailer’s suppliers, their capabilities and the collaboration between the parties.
Now is the time to seize the moment, scale up the capabilities, and capture first-mover advantage in the personalization revolution.
It's time for fashion to get personal—at scale
Personalization is not easy to implement at scale. But our findings show that fashion brands and retailers who manage it successfully will be positioned to drive future growth through increased sales, enhanced customer loyalty, and price premiums for personalized items. They will have better insights into consumer preferences that can be applied far beyond their portfolio of personalized products. They may even eventually be able to help fashion consumers make more informed sustainability choices.