..



.

Business News

The paradox of choice. Why made-to-order might not solve the fashion industry's problems

  • Written by Jessica Pallant, Lecturer in Marketing, Swinburne University of Technology
The paradox of choice. Why made-to-order might not solve the fashion industry's problems

How could you go from winning awards for “Store Design of The Year” and “Best Shoe Ever[1]” to selling nothing?

In 2009 the Australian startup Shoes of Prey set out to make exactly the shoes its customers wanted. Customers could pick the designs, sizes and exact specifications, and Shoes of Prey would deliver exactly what they ordered.

They wouldn’t make shoes no one needed. Traditional retailers use flash sales to move stock that has gone out of fashion. Or they burn or bury it. British fashion label Burberry says it has destroyed more than A$150 million worth of unsold clothes, accessories and perfume[2] over the past five years.

Last month Shoes of Prey hit pause.

Co-founder Jodie Fox went to social media to say it was considering its future and wouldn’t process any further orders.

It had been unable to “truly crack mass market adoption”.

If Shoes of Prey couldn’t, maybe no one can.

The pros and cons of mass customisation

Customisation can increase the perceived value of a product through the “I designed it myself[3]” effect, giving customers a sense of ownership as “creators”.

It can also improve the customer’s perception of the quality of the product. Research shows people are more likely to enjoy the taste of a meal made from a kit they used themselves than the taste of a meal made from the same kit in a store[4].

But there are downsides. Making choices is taxing.

Read more: Digital by design: how technology is breathing new life into the fashion business[5]

And the choices pile up. For shoes, size is probably the easiest, followed by colour, heel size, width, pattern and accessories. There are other judgements to be made. Should there be more than one colour? Will that choice look good? What will others think? And so on.

Having many roughly equal options to choose from is draining. The satisfaction we get from choice follows an inverted U curve[6]. Having more options when there are just a few makes us feel good, but having even more when there are already a lot makes us feel worse.

And then there’s the cost of time.

When customising, customers have to learn what is possible within the confines of the toolkit, test out different possible solutions, learn from their errors and pick the best solution. All of this takes time[7].

It’s a resource not everyone has. Research shows customers with the most free time are the most likely to appreciate the opportunity to make choices about what they buy[8].

Shoes of Prey’s mistake might have been to increase the range and complexity of its offerings. What started as customising high heels in 2009 became selecting styles of heels, flats, sneakers, boots and sandals with a multitude of options within each.

While loyal customers could keep up, for the average customer the choice was overwhelming. For some, it was easier to take the path of least resistance – a pair of off-the-shelf shoes.

Mass customisation today

Some retailers are persisting with mass customisation. More than 60% of online shoppers in the US are believed to have chosen, recommended or bought a brand that provides a customised experience or service[9].

Interestingly though, 42% wanted to customise from a list of options and be “led by the brands” rather than start from scratch[10].

So-called “customisation via starting solution”, where customers choose from an inital option closest to their desired outcome and then refine it to their needs, has been found to enhance satisfaction, decrease the perceived complexity of the customisation and result in more feature-rich products being customised[11].

Read more: What's really driving the future of retail?[12]

An example of a brand currently making headway is Choosy[13], a new fast fashion brand that draws its fashion inspiration almost exclusively from the top trending posts on Instagram. Releasing ten styles a week, it gives customers just a few days to order each before they go into production. By creating only pieces customers have committed to buying, it avoids building up surplus stock and leverages the upside of mass customisation while minimising the downside.

Does it have a future?

The waste in mass production of fashion items is unsustainable in the long term, from both an economic and social standpoint.

Shoes of Prey broke ground with its innovative business model of delivering customised shoes through on-demand manufacturing, but faced challenges in convincing customers to make the necessary choices to customise a product.

If brands can tackle the barriers to customisation, reducing the cost to customers in time and choice as Choosy has done, then mass customisation could have a future.

Authors: Jessica Pallant, Lecturer in Marketing, Swinburne University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-paradox-of-choice-why-made-to-order-might-not-solve-the-fashion-industrys-problems-102442

Business Daily Media Business Development

Bahrain Property Show 2018: How does it reflect the real estate market development in Bahrain

It is no secret that the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are currently going through a lot of pivotal changes. Such changes do not include economic or po...

News Company - avatar News Company

Di Jones real estate recognises high achievers

Di Jones celebrated its outstanding performers on Saturday (24 February 2018) evening at the Di Jones Real Estate Annual Awards.                               The black-tie Gala Dinner s...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull

Five Reasons Melbourne Rules

If you are traveling in Australia and have left Melbourne off your destination list, then you are going to want to reconsider. Many people consider Melbourne to the best city in the world...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Making Friends During Your Campsite Stay

Part of the excitement of vacation is meeting people who you would never otherwise encounter. Staying at a campsite isn’t just about taking in nature. It’s also about sharing the beauty of n...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Have More Fun On Your Business Trips

Whether you are a traveling salesman or someone who finds themselves on the road more than in their office you probably are grateful for any tips you can get especially if they involve havin...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Traditions of Rural Bali at Villa Sabana

A Privileged Insight into the Traditions of Rural Bali at Villa Sabana  Situated in the traditional village of Pererenan near Canggu, Villa Sabana is peacefully secluded in a semi-rural...

Linda Lim - avatar Linda Lim

Business Daily Media Business Reports

Di Jones real estate recognises high achievers

Di Jones celebrated its outstanding performers on Saturday (24 February 2018) evening at the Di Jones Real Estate Annual Awards.                               The bla...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull

Eclipse Travel Expands Operations to New Zealand

Eclipse Travel, specialists in key adventure destinations such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Africa and Latin America, have announced today their expansion of operations to ...

Yvonne Kong - avatar Yvonne Kong

How medical professionals can benefit from an overall wealth management solution

As a health care professional, you have made it your life's work to focus on the care and health of the general public. While this kind of work can be extremely rewarding...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Why Pinterest Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Pinterest is a growing social media platform that can deliver significant traffic to your website and new followers to your brand. With it’s steady growth and outrageous ...

Greg Nunan - avatar Greg Nunan

The top reasons why gyms fail

Steve Grant is a Business Coach and Founder of GymHub.com.au   Every month thousands of new trainers walk out of their 6-month course with the qualifications needed ...

Steve Grant - avatar Steve Grant

WHITE LABEL NOBA’s Winter 2016 season: Earth + Country

Taking cues from the warm winter colours of tobacco and caramel, and combining them with the strength of navy and the embracing lightness of whites and creams; and then...

Kath Rose - avatar Kath Rose

Former Etihad boss brings substantial event insight to PMY Group Board

Paul Sergeant PMY Group, the architects of the digital insurgency occurring at major venues across Australia and New Zealand, are delighted to welcome 35 year even...

Annie Konieczny - avatar Annie Konieczny

More training for coffee making than property sales: REINSW

Sydney 9 May 2016. An overhaul of education and training standards for the real estate profession must take place to help prevent illegal activities, according to the Rea...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull