How to Combine Product and Customer-Centricity
What is product-centricity?
Product-centric marketing is when a product is sold to the market based on its features. For example, a fridge would be sold to customers based on its attributes. Attributes like “extra-large”, “ice-maker”, or “easy-grip”.
What is customer-centricity?
Customer-centricity is when products are marketed in a way that resonates with the needs of the customer. So, extra-large would be translated as “perfect for big families”, and an ice-maker would be perfect for “fighting the heat”. These are product benefits that are extracted from the product attributes.
A product-centric approach is constant and can be established by looking at the product itself and the attributes that stand out. Whereas a customer-centric approach is more changeable and subject to the brand, target-audience, season, trends, and campaign.
Many retailers will see the product-centric approach as old-fashioned. Before psychology permeated marketing in advertising, products were sold based on their features. Tobacco was advertised as “toasted”; crayons were appealing for their “wax” feature.
When consumer psychology took center stage in marketing, however, customer-centricity took off. Tobacco is a lifestyle, and crayons inspire the creative ambitions of children.
Retailers are now striving towards customer-centric structures and strategies, and the biggest eCommerce players thrive on being the Earth’s most customer-centric companies. This transition from product-centric to customer-centric was necessary. It makes retailers more aware of who they were serving and, by doing so, makes marketing and merchandising a two-way street.
But as omnichannel and technology take center stage, we are starting to witness the next retail evolution: bridging the gap between product and customer-centricity. This is the evolution that will make retailers stay relevant in a data-driven market.
How do you combine product and customer-centricity?
When product-centric and customer-centric come together, retailers can leverage product data to optimize customer experiences. Many of these product-driven customer experiences are evident in eCommerce. For example, product personalization.
Converse lets shoppers customize their famous shoes by choosing its attributes like color, stripe placement, shape, etc.
Whatever the customer decides to put on their shoe will provide relevant information about what those customers like about the product.
These product-driven insights will also drive future product promotion and creation: E.g., Converse can provide dynamic product recommendations based on what their customers have chosen on the customize page (see below image), or they can base future lines on attributes or combination attributes that people choose when they customize the shoes.
Many retailers optimize their products in relation to what their customers like or dislike about them. They can test this with on-site engines, like:
- Customizable engines
- Shopping wizards
- Product notifications
- Product badges
For example, Asics uses a shopping wizard. By answering specific questions, customers can find the perfect running shoe that fits their needs.
What this Asics Shoe Finder also does is to use the product data from the quiz to tailor the shopping experience to the individual customer who plugged in their preferred options.
So Asics can further recommend personalized running shoes in email campaigns or product recommendations, offering relevant tips and tricks related to their customers' running goals. Plus, Asics puts a Dynamic Badge (see below image) that highlights the shoes that are relevant to the customer based on his/her shopping wizard answers.
Using product data to personalize the customer experience in-session is how we help retailers stay relevant, bringing the worlds of product-centric and customer-centric together.
Learn more about product-centric and customer-centric as the next retail evolution: