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Have it Your Way: Offering Custom Products in an On-Demand World

Most of us of a certain age can recall the iconic Burger King jingle: “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way.” At the time, Burger King was trying to highlight the fact that, although they were a massive restaurant chain with a uniform menu, they had not forgotten the importance of acknowledging that customers had individual wants and needs.

Fast forward a few decades, and the on-demand world has become the expectation instead of the exception. Today, we customize everything from our music playlists to how and when we watch our favorite television shows and movies. Want to sit down at 2 a.m. and binge watch The Walking Dead? You can do that. Heck, you can even custom mix your own beverages at the local fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

Our society has gotten used to "having it their way." In fact, customization has become such a regular part of our lives that we expect it.

When it comes to producing pressure-sensitive products for customers, it’s great to have a healthy selection of standard products to choose from – Whoppers®* with all the fixin’s; however, should you have to settle for tomatoes on your Whopper if you don’t like tomatoes? 

What about your customers? Forcing them to choose something that may not be quite right, rather than finding a way to fit their needs precisely, could leave them feeling that you’re not taking their unique needs into consideration.

While this may seem, at first blush, like a lot of work for little return on your investment, it may not be necessary to develop a brand new construction to fit your customer’s application. In fact, there may be made-to-order products you can take advantage of that are already proven in the industry. Such products can differentiate you in the marketplace and ultimately lead to new business. Taking advantage of them can be a win-win that provides you with products that are better-suited to your customers’ applications while also improving FLEXcon’s efficiency, which further helps keep your costs down.

For example, one FLEXcon sales representative recently had a customer who was placing lots of small orders (~500 MSI each) of five different products. Our margin was low, and his customers’ costs were preventing him from competing effectively in the marketplace. He worked with the customer and their end users, and together they were able to identify just two made-to-order products (a standard and a high-performance) that we were already making regularly, and transitioned multiple applications to these two products. This customer is now able to place larger, more economical orders, and both FLEXcon and the customer are running more efficiently. More significantly, the customer is now able to offer a more competitive price to their clientele, which is gaining them more business.

Customization has always been desirable, and with personalization so prevalent in today’s society, why wouldn’t your customers want it? In fact, in some instances, letting them know that they can “have it their way” could be a critical component of keeping them. In addition, studies have repeatedly shown that consumers are willing to pay a premium for premium service – like paying extra to sit in first class - so the upfront cost is not necessarily all yours to bear. Of course, you need to offer that service in the first place for your customers to take advantage of it.

*Whopper® is a registered trademark of Burger King Corporation

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