With the continuous growth of ecommerce sales, even through the recent recession, companies selling to both businesses and consumers are increasingly making better use of this channel. One particular benefit of ecommerce that is beginning to take off more is the ability for shoppers to design their own products, a process known as co-creation or mass customization.
Leading fashion and footwear manufacturer Nike recently revealed that its NikeID site, which enables consumers to design their own shoes which are then produced and shipped to them, surpassed $100 million in sales for the year ending May 31, 2010. This represents about 4% of Nike’s total direct-to-consumer sales of approximately $2.5 billion.
You have to wonder how much of that $100 million in revenue would still have been spent with Nike had the customization option not been available. There’s no way to know for sure, but it’s logical to assume people have needs and desires that are not always going to be met by mass produced products available off the shelf. Manufacturers with the capability to produced custom products on a mass-market scale can definitely see an increase in revenues. Even if it is necessary to tack on a customization charge to offset any increased costs it is evident that there are consumers who are going to be not just willing, but excited, to pay it in exchange for receiving the product of their dreams.