Chapter 10

The Payoff of IDIC: Using Mass Customization to Build Learning Relationships

On average, each American household has about 300 branded products—food items, cleaning goods, over-the-counter-remedies, grooming products. Yet there are 30,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in the average supermarket. That means that each shopper sifts through 100 times as many products she doesn’t want as she does finding the ones she buys. But the truth is that “choice” is not the same as getting things our way. Most of the time, in fact, especially for routine purchases, people don’t want more choice. They just want what they want. They want to satisfy their need, and choosing from a large assortment of alternatives is the only way they can accomplish this. Customization, however, involves producing a single product, or delivering a single service, to satisfy a single customer’s need without requiring the customer to go to the trouble of having to choose from a wide variety of other products or services. This is the payoff of the Learning Relationship—to the customer and to the company. This chapter shows how the customer-based enterprise should use what it learns about each customer to customize and/or personalize some aspect of its offering for that customer, in order to increase its share of that customer’s business. The whole point is to know more about a customer than the competition does and then to deliver something in a way the competition cannot.

Treating different customers differently ...

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