The Paradox of Mass Personalization
Let's dive into a paradox that we foresee becoming important in the years to come: the paradox of mass personalization.
Today we continue exploring the frontiers of personalization and what these exciting changes mean for customer experience and the importance of truly personalized products.
Data is at the root of hyper-personalization. We're only just getting started on the amount (and type) of personal data that is being gathered and generated.
"In 2020, it’s estimated that on average people created 1.7mbs of data every second. If you’re digitally-engaged, you’re probably generating significantly more. And we’re rapidly expanding that footprint, with the total digital world making up 4.4 zettabytes in 2019 and likely 44 zettabytes at years’ end." - Future Commerce, Your 2020 Body Is A Dataland
How can products and services use that data to tailor to an individual's unique needs? Here are some of the health and fitness brands leading the way.
Wearables are a pretty wide category of technology. Most people think of smart watches when they hear the term, but it might not be long before people think about augmented reality (AR) glasses instead!
While wearables aren’t new (Pebble, the world's first smart watch, hit Kickstarter in April 2012. It was later acquired by Fitbit) the space has seen a lot of activity lately:
Wearables—specifically health wearables (not to be confused with medical devices)—is a growing market and is an effective way of capturing unique, personal data that can be leveraged to provide personalized health recommendations and products.
These devices go beyond the standard step counting and sleep tracking to provide customers with personalized recommendations. For example:
An interesting new trend is glucose patch-based fitness programs. Levels is one example of a brand using this type of technology to create personalized recommendations based on who a user is and their lifestyle. It’s a pretty sophisticated product that goes well beyond an app.
It's not only performance training companies that are jumping on the patch technology bandwagon.
Sport performance brand Gatorade, owned by PepsiCo, recently released the GxSweat Patch, which works alongside the brand's Gx App. The patch is designed to help athletes prepare and recover from workouts, training, or games.
Personalized health and fitness experiences
Mirror is a unique piece of fitness equipment that’s nearly invisible. Wait, what?
The product, as its name implies, is a stylish smart mirror for at-home fitness. Some of the features that set it apart include:
Some accessories are required to make these features possible, but the technology makes up for these added purchases in coolness alone. Mirror was acquired by Lululemon in July 2020, so expect lots of interesting crossovers.
Running Stories is an interesting app concept from a Singapore-based creative agency.
While still in beta, Running Stories markets itself as an audio-tainment platform. According to their website, "the app uses location data, weather, your running speed, heart rate and more, making you the main character in the story."
This is an example of the second generation of personalized experience. Running Stories is a pre-designed product experience that can be personalized using a runner's data and biometrics which trigger choose your own adventure-style twists built into the product experience.
The (coming) personal data revolution
Advances in technology have enabled us to generate more and more data.
As the type of data we generate diversifies, customers and users will want to both better protect it and leverage it to their benefit—AKA personalizing products or experiences automatically.
Just look at the explosion in photography. Before smartphones, photos were much harder to take. Once everyone had access to a device that made it simple, there was an explosion in the rate a which photos were taken (and then shared). An estimated 1.4 trillion photos were taken in 2020. And that's just photography.
Today we're talking about volumetric video, which is basically the 3 dimensional capture of space - perfect for virtual reality experiences. Anyone can do it with a modern smartphone.
Pair that media data like photos and volumetric video, with health or activity metrics, some of which we've discussed above, data from environmental scans, body scans, etc., and many more sources as technology evolves. There is no slowing down how much information we all generate.
The question is: what will we do with it?
Customer experience is still a relatively new field.
Brands, entrepreneurs, and startups are only beginning to think about how they can (and should) design better and more innovative experiences for their customers using data.
Creative Layer will continue to explore these frontiers as we look towards empowering more brands, entrepreneurs, and creators with the tools to push truly personalized product experiences forward.
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