franchise industry Jul, 14 2017

Customization has become a prominent trend among the brands

Brands today are showing keen interest in customizing their brand from in and out.

By Ekta Sharma
Feature Writer
Customization has become a prominent trend among the brands

Uniformity across outlets in franchise businesses is a trend now. Brands are spending more bucks on the look of their outlets. After the entry of food brands like McDonald’s, Pizza hut and KFC, customisation in all the processes is in high demand now. Across the industries, brands have started customising almost everything for the best experience to its patrons. They have started taking utmost care of the fact that their customer sitting in Delhi must have the same experience in other cities too wherever they visit that brands outlet. We spoke to them on how important is the task of customisation in a franchise business and how it is helping the brands to grow.

Few years ago, the word customisation was just related to apparel, but now every sector is going ahead with little changes either in their outlets or uniformity in the services across their showrooms or may be the products. This growing trend has opened galore of opportunities for brands and people aspiring to invest in. In 2014, Arvind group forayed into e-commerce with custom clothing brand, Creyate. Similarly, in the QSR sector, the war for customisation in India began with burgers. As international brands like McDonald’s entered India and started serving burgers, many came behind and customised their flavours and outlets as per taste and regional sense. Burger King also customised its flavours. Menu customisation always remains an important business strategy in this fast evolving food sector. Pebble Street and Tham Hospitality introduced the Asian Food culture in Mumbai. The high end restaurants KOKO, The Good Wife and nightclub Trilogy have always delighted the niche food and party lovers in and around Mumbai. On the importance and need of customisation, Ryan Tham, Director at Pebble Street Hospitality says: ‘For every restaurateur it is vital to be able to make every customer feel at home. A satisfied customer is looking for a memorable experience right from the time he steps in. Customisation begins at localising a space as per the patrons you want to bring in, be it office goers, families, young adults or couples. This integrated with your vision of starting a fine-dining restaurant or a café or a lounge has to be done right. Secondly, service could make or break the image of the restaurant. Being consistent in your service sets the restaurant apart in the market and presents a key factor for them to come back.’

Education sector also demand a lot of customisation with growing competition. Japans Kumon; an afterschool math and reading program has fast spread out its wings in India. Takaya Kitanishi, General Manager, Kumon India & Sri Lanka, Kumon tells us: ‘For global franchises, customization when they enter a local market may be necessary to cater to local tastes and demands. Classic examples are brands like KFC, McDonald’s etc. However, in our case, the essence of Kumon – ‘Self study beyond school grade level’ remains same globally. Hence, our worksheets, training and instruction methodology, subjects, levels, centre flow, centre look and furniture, branding elements etc. remain standard across the world. However, at a regional level (example: Asia Oceania or North America etc.) certain elements are customized, like having an option for a regional/native language as a subject (example: Thai in Kumon Thailand); running a localized type of promotion; changes in marketing tactics etc.

Customisation in beauty industry
Beauty brands have now started using technology to give the best to the shoppers. Be it a lip colour of your choice or that perfect hair cut look, all is customised for the customer. It can be any industry, from food to fashion and technology; customization is certainly the trend and the future. Jawed Habibs has more than a 100 different hairstyles to suit every face. Lakme had created Lakme Makeup Pro app. Customer can use her front camera as a mirror, click a new selfie or use an old one from gallery and try out any products from Lakme virtually. The app allows directly ordering the products you wish to buy.

Toni&Guy leadership goes even further with its market leading salon operation software – AppGENIUS from SALON GENIUS. With this app, the staff members can strategically organize all client appointments, check and update the client technical histories, and manage time slots, among other functions. AppGENIUS is an individual customizable business app, which helps with customer engagement and the advancement of output. Makeup Genius by L’Oréal Paris is a virtual make-up tester. The technology allows you to create your own beauty looks or use existing ones curated by make-up artists.

Challenge
The biggest challenge seen is mass customisation. With a few customers, the trend gets easy but with bulk of customisations coming in, brands have to tighten up their belts and come up with better styles and innovations for proper customisation. Nike has faced all the challenges and is running faced paced in its innovations and customisation. NIKEiD is a service provided by Nike allowing customers to customize clothing purchased from Nike. The customer becomes the designer as he changes and adds a personal look and feel to a selected item.

The Vroom angle
Leave aside other sectors, now automobile industry is also speeding up with customisation. Last month Royal Enfield tied up with 4 bike designers to give custom look to its motorcycles. Even though customisation of any bike takes a longer time but brands are fast riding on this trend. Notable American brands like Harley-Davidson are also giving its patrons various options for customisation.

Customization is not only helping the companies stand out but also they can easily differentiate their products from others in the market. The similarity of outlets across towns, letting customers choose and design what they want and giving ample variety to patrons for customisation can easily take any brand ahead from its competition. Frontrunner will be those who keep on making its customers happy with new offerings every now and then. 

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