The Product Personalization Matrix

Franco Varriano
November 25, 2020
 min read

Key takeaways

  • The product personalization matrix is an important tool to examine the potential of personalized products, today and into the future.
  • The modifiable product market is currently flush with products and experiences created with low customization, high customization, and basic personalization—but what’s missing is advanced and immersive personalization. This is where Creative Layer comes in.
  • Creative Layer puts personalized product experiences into the hands of everyday creators and brands. Let us show you how.


The product personalization matrix is a way to look at and understand the current and potential future landscape of personalized products.

The matrix provides a sense of what's possible today and explores the many opportunities for future possibilities. It’s here where you’ll discover new ways to create and deliver incredible customer experiences.

Before we dive deeper, it's important to understand what we mean by product personalization. You can quickly brush up on that topic here.

What is the Product Personalization Matrix?

In the matrix below, we compare the definitions of customization and personalization and showcase tangible examples of brands and products that fit into this model.

We've focused on one of two very generalized product categories: modifiable products.

  • Modifiable products are exactly as they sound. These are product formats that our culture is open to customizing or (increasingly so) personalizing.
  • Evergreen products, on the other hand, are things our culture isn't yet as open to customizing or personalizing (at least at scale). These products include books, movies, video games, and music. But new business models demonstrating the power of personalization (or remixing) are beginning to emerge for these products. More on that another time!

Focusing on our matrix of modifiable products, here are some helpful definitions to explain our analysis:

  • Low customization - This is a mass produced product. Quantities could be limited and it may have some unique element in the design, however anyone who purchases this product gets the exact same thing. This category includes the bulk of consumer products and some collectibles.
  • High customization - While still a mass produced product (like a specific model of car or shoe), you may have selected a unique combination of predetermined variables or upgrade packages that make it feel modified for you.
  • Basic personalization - similar to low customization, basic personalization enables an individual to start with a defined product, and "inject" parts of themselves in order to modify or transform it. This can be done with different media or relevant information that begins to shape and even redefine the product.

Advanced personalization - The highest form of personalization—and one we'd argue is still in the process of becoming attainable at-scale. Advanced personalization products and experiences truly immerse a customer into the personalization experience. The customer becomes a participant, and is effectively a co-creator, weaving their own ideas into the product experience to create a one-of-a-kind hybrid or remix.

The Product Personalization Matrix

Now that we've got some definitions to work from, let's explore the matrix.

  • Starting in the bottom left quadrant (low customization) we find products like the Casper Original Mattress. Due to a combination of factors, many Direct to Consumer brands like Casper launched their business with only one product. While they've since launched others, the Original Mattress is still one of those products where there is no customization. The Casper team was inspired by how all hotel beds felt the same, and designed a modern, affordable mattress for the masses.
  • Moving to the top left (high customization), we again find products with fixed definitions (shoes, merchandise), but with customization options available to create your own design. Nike By You is an excellent example of just how far you can push and tweak high customization products.
  • In the bottom right (basic personalization), we find some products and experiences where the individual is "immersed" and has some creative liberty to modify or personalize the output of the experience (using Augmented Reality (AR) filters or AR makeup, for example). We gradually move towards products like Prose, a personalized shampoo that combines “135 ingredients to create a specific blend unique to your profile”.

The future of product personalization

The fourth quadrant in this product personalization matrix is, in our opinion, the most exciting one!

We believe there has yet to be an advanced or immersive personalization experience that enables a high degree of co-creation or deep remix. At this point, a customer becomes the creator or significantly influences the final output based on multiple data points or personal contributions.

This is Creative Layer’s mission.

We're pushing product personalization as far as we can, and helping entrepreneurs, creators, and brands stand out and offer an incredible customer experience. But there's still a long way to go.

Our vision is to create simple and intuitive tools that make it effortless to create the personalized product experiences of the future.

We want to empower creators, their fans, and everyday individuals to unlock their identity and memories in ways that will enable them to shape and create incredibly personalized outcomes!

Sign-up today for early access to Creative Layer if you're curious about what this means and if you want to use our technology to stand out and offer your customers a better experience! We’re thrilled to have you along for the ride.