One of the earliest lessons we learn about spending money is that our purchases should be meaningful. Think back to when you were a child and there was a toy you really wanted. Rather than simply buying it for you, did your parents insist that you earn the money for it yourself? If so, their reason was probably at least partially because they knew that toy would mean more if you saved up for it yourself. Once you saved your money, you’d have the excitement of going to the store to finally make your purchase, and when you had the toy at home, you’d enjoy it so much more because of all the work you put into earning it. That kind of emotional connection is powerful.
As adults, we still strive to make meaningful purchases, but now we seek them out in other ways. We understand the satisfaction that comes from working for the things we want, and now want the things we buy to reflect our own distinct personalities. But when everybody is so unique, it can be difficult to find ready-made items that are completely your style. You might find things that are similar to what you want, but not exactly. You like the basic product, but maybe you’d prefer it in a different color or with a different type of finish. In the end, we often feel like they’re settling for something that’s just “close enough,” and there’s no real meaning in that.
Participating in the creation of a product is the best way to get exactly what you want, whether it’s by actually creating something yourself or commissioning someone to make a customized product for you. Not only do you get just what you’re looking for, the emotional connection is much stronger. You’re not just buying an ordinary item out of a catalog or off a website, something that anybody with enough money could buy; you’re getting something that’s truly your own. But the average person isn’t able to design and build their own furniture or have everything fully custom made.
So how can product customization become more accessible? Enter the co-creation process.
The co-creation process is about finding ways to integrate personalization with large-scale production methods. Just as technology enabled the growth of mass production, making furniture more affordable and efficient to produce, technology has made product customization easier than ever before. The Coalesse LessThanFive Customizer tool is just one example of this. During the co-creation process, the speed of mass production isn’t gone; it’s just slowed down a little bit to invite the customer in so they can add their own personal touches. With just a few clicks, a customer can choose the color of a chair, select the material used to upholster a sofa, change the glass on a tabletop, or choose the color of thread used for stitching.
Co-creation puts the power back in the hands of the consumer. Customers don’t have to settle for “close enough”; they’re empowered to get exactly what they want. The basic product framework acts as a canvas for the customer’s imagination. In the end, they receive a personalized product that’s more attainable than a bespoke item and much more meaningful than buying a ready-made stock item. They’re no longer just a customer; they’re a collaborator. Their voice is heard. The emotional connection is deeper.
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