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Customisation, it’s the new black.

Posted by: Thomas Harrison-Lord on 21 April 2016

You may or may not have seen that Apple launched a revised MacBook this week. A nice increase in specs over last year’s model, but not much else. Except, yes you guessed it, it’s now available in the famous Apple shade of ‘Rose Gold’. Pink-ish.

You now have the choice of 3 colours and all are rather lovely indeed. But does the customer want even more choice?

Time to switch across to the world of automotive marketing. Yes, I’m a blog piece again, so cars must come into it somewhere!

We all know the famous adage by Henry Ford:

“A customer can have a car painted any colour he wants as long as it’s black”

The reasoning was to cut costs on a mass-market and mass-produced product. Things have moved on a bit then, thanks to improvements in manufacturing processes, and now you can get your shiny new car in a suite of different colour options.

I say ‘options’ because the vast majority of fancy colours on your car are actually paid for items, over and about the list price. Like the look of the metallic blue? That will be an extra £1995 please.

BMW Customisation

So why not with technology? Third party companies have been having a field day for years. Most popular technology influencers on the internet ‘rock’ a phone skin that looks ‘on point’.

If they are the trendsetters, why have the technology manufacturers failed to capitalise on the demand for personalisation? You only have to see the massive choice and popularity of phone skins and cases, in a massive array of colours and patterns, to see there is money to be made.

You can have you silver, gold and pink for free, or for an extra £50, here’s yellow. Consumers are happy to wait a little longer for an item, provided it is unique.

Cars are testament to this. It is said there are over 10,000,000 combinations of new Mini. From silly graphics on the door mirrors to red leather seats. You just pay extra and wait a little longer.

Google Live Cases

Which moves me on to Google’s Live Cases. Yes, just a case, not a customised device. But, interestingly, a completely unique phone case, with any image, colour or pattern you desire. Simply upload the image and the case is made. You pay, you wait, it looks as you want it and no one else has a case that looks the same. Critically, this is also from Google direct. Not a third party accessory creator. The people responsible for the Google Nexus phones.

Will it catch on? I think it is a fantastic idea but seen as it is only available for Google’s Nexus devices, which are brilliant but not mass-marketed, not yet. But treat it as a toe in the water. A test.

Motorola has the excellent online configurator, called Motor Maker. It is truly wonderful and something I would love to do for my next smartphone. The only downside is that you need to buy a Motorola phone…

So, come on Apple. Your customers are meant to be fashion conscious; let them customise their device and you know it would boost their already stunning margins. Forget the free engraving, and take a leaf from the myriad of Apple Watch straps.

If this becomes an option for the iPhone 7 or 7S, you heard it here first.

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