Personalization at Scale

By: Elizabeth Gooding, President at Inkjet Insight and Co-Author of “The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet”

Customization and personalization are now happening throughout the supply chain. Data on customer buying preferences – what, where and how they buy – is driving change in inventory management, distribution, product design and marketing. As brands adapt what and how they sell, OEMs and print service providers will need to adapt solutions to support them.

Thomas Sineau of CB Insights recently published a post titled “From Mass Production to Mass Personalization” that discusses how companies in highly standardized industries such as food, fashion and retail are driving hyper personalized customer service using big data and artificial intelligence.

The article cites McDonald’s plans to offer adaptive menus for drive-thru customers based on season, time of day, current traffic and weather to make ordering faster and more efficient. The same approach could be applied to printed menus in restaurant chains and related retail signage. Many chain restaurants carry affiliate advertising on their packaging which can also be tailored.

Fashion brands like Nike are using predictive analytics to manage inventory levels – but also to determine when, where and how consumers may buy the products. This may have an impact on how packaging is sourced, designed and printed based on the likelihood of customers buying at particular retail locations or buying online requiring products to be shipped.

Inkjet allows production output in every application segment and industry sector to be personalized at scale. I mean everything – from direct mail to menus and from postcards to packaging. The possibilities for changing the way that printed products are produced and managed are tremendous in many industries. Adapting production is where innovative print companies can truly get ahead with more profitable output by taking a data-driven approach.

The challenge now is for OEMs to take the same data-driven approach to analyzing their own market opportunities. How can inkjet be made more accessible and tailored to the markets where brands’ desire for personalization makes inkjet a must-have? How can tailored solutions be brought to market more quickly?

OEMs can also support their customers and prospects with education and solutions (potentially through partners) to manage customer data effectively. Without an understanding of data and designing for personalization, it will be difficult for a customer to make the business case to invest in inkjet. Helping them to understand the potential profitability vector that personalized production can offer helps everyone in the print supply chain.

Explore Memjet’s flexible modular printing technology which empowers OEMs to quickly tailor products for a changing marketplace, to meet customer requirements, and forge stronger customer loyalty.

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About the Author: Elizabeth has a rare ability to see design related issues from many perspectives. She has managed creative teams on complex design projects, selected outsourcers for major brands and helped print organizations to retool operations, focus their market positioning and educate sales teams to accelerate growth. At Inkjet, Elizabeth works with a team of top analysts to translate those experiences into tools, data and content to help print organizations evaluate the potential of inkjet, optimize their operations, work effectively with designers and grow pages profitably. She is also founding member of the Inkjet Summit advisory board and a curious consultant constantly seeking innovative ways to help designers and printers hone their craft and drive new pages onto inkjet presses.