During my recent visit to Jewellery & Watch London, it became apparent that there was a jewellery buzz word - composable. This describes an experience where the customer can create, or compose, their own piece of jewellery from a number of preset elements. It’s a wonderfully simple concept that many brands seem to be embracing. However, the reality is far more complicated than simply manufacturing the pieces and making them available through your sales channels.
Many of the brands launching new composable product ranges are struggling to communicate the unique nature of their offering. Simply presenting a matrix of options to the customer doesn’t clearly show that they can compose their own piece of jewellery; this needs to be clearly demonstrated in the point-of-sale experience, marketing material and tablet or web application. This isn't the end of the story, brands told us that they have to ‘train the trainer’ in how to sell these products and in-turn they have to train their retail partners in how to communicate the value proposition.
The challenges of enabling customers to compose their product choice i.e. a ring via your website or tablet application are different again. The value proposition and process has to be simple and clear enough for the customer to compose their ring without any input from you or a sales executive. Will you enable customers to start their journey on your website, continue composing in your app then save their design to bring in-store? Can they transact directly through your website or app? How will you calculate prices for each variation?
When composing a unique product, showing the customer exactly what they will be buying is so important. The challenge is being able to produce images for all the possible variations. One brand [I met at Jewellery & Watch London] explained that on the face of it they offer a seemingly small range of options for customers to compose from:
- six engagement ring designs
- six wedding band designs
- two metal colours
- six stone sizes
- two stone shapes
- five clarity options
This quickly scales to over 19,000 variations! How can you possibly photograph each of these options? They explained that they use some photographs with a series of Photoshop filters to produce all their images. However this process is manual, time consuming and doesn’t produce the best quality images. How can you automate this process? What if you want to make a change to the range or add a new option?
One of the biggest challenges brands face is manufacturing to order. What delivery time you can guarantee your customers? Will they have to wait weeks while you manually process and manufacture their custom order? What are the key bottle necks in your process? can these be addressed during the design process or does these fixes retrospective?
A lot of questions I know, but these should be asked by every company moving into the composable product market.