This first part is our brief back story… you can skip it if you wish and go down to the discussion topic 🙂
We believe that mass customization is the future and the sports industry is definitely ripe for disruption.
We recently polled 131 people aged between 13 to 21 years. We asked them… If the price was exactly the same would they prefer their sports equipment to be “Customized” or “Just Company Branded”… 88% said they would prefer some way to customize their equipment. If you want to learn more about the topic, we would highly recommend this book
With the above as our inspiration, we launched http://custom.ragehockey.com/ in January of last year. We followed the Lean Startup methodology to validate the idea for Field Hockey. Our MVP back then was just a single HTML web page with some information, a Facebook page, and an email address.
It’s a long story perhaps better suited for another time but in a nutshell, we did some social media marketing and employed a few growth hacks to finally land our first customer, Michael Barclay 🙂 This is how we designed his stick and this is how the production process worked.
That got the ball rolling and based on our interaction with each individual customer since then and hundreds of sticks later… we have been able to improve our website, refine our production processes and have added more products.
We started with just field hockey products but now we aim to diversify into other sports and become a true mass customization sports company.
If you skipped the story… here is the main topic of discussion!
Customization is going to change consumer behavior and so rather than resisting this change, we hope to do it right.
The purpose of this post is to start a discussion about the topic in general and in the process get the opinion of & connect with the different stakeholders that make up the sports fraternity 🙂
But first, a little preamble to set the context
“As the internet continues to become the preferred way to do business for the average consumer, there will be an ever-growing disconnect between the consumer and the product. By providing a cost-effective way for each consumer to make the product they purchase unique, a business can enjoy all the benefits of doing business on the internet while still providing the personal touch that the average person enjoys.”
A Forrester report cites false starts as one of the biggest dangers that alienate potential markets.
Not being cost-effective, half-hearted measures such as minor personalization of already existing brand designs, very long wait times, stipulating unnecessary minimum quantities & lack of the proper tech or services to ensure that customers of varying technical skill levels can all benefit, will deter this innovation from progressing in the sports industry.
A scenario that would suit industry incumbents as they would love to stretch things out for as long as they can but not if we have anything to say about that 😉
So here are the questions:
- As a player, parent or club what would you like to see in a sports customization service?
- What features or products would you like to see added that aren’t currently available on RAGE Custom Works or other services?
- What misgivings do you have in terms of quality, delivery speed & warranty that might stop you from going the custom route?
Would you be open to a subscription service that actually makes the custom equipment cheaper than what’s currently available?
- Any other questions, comments or feedback?
- Branded sports equipment and people who will still buy them are not going away (for some time at least 😉 but would you be interested in offering your customers the option to customize their sports equipment?
We can seamlessly integrate this service for you, you could just send us an email to place an order or we could do full integration with your website or even your FB page.
- Would this make sense for your business, if we can ensure that you will still be making similar margins without the overheads of stocking, packing and dispatching?
Let’s connect and we can discuss what we are already doing with some retailers and pricing information.
We all need to change, adapt & improve 🙂 Can’t name names in public (legal/ethical reasons) but we manufacture for some of the biggest brands there are and already provide personalization service for a couple.
As a brand ourselves, we had to re-structure into a design house, tech company, overhaul our production processes from bulk production to be able to produce a single custom stick without breaking the bank led by our in-house patent-pending printing technique that actually makes all this possible.
- Would you be interested in exploring a partnership with us?
We can produce for you or even work with your current manufacturer and just provide the service layer from design to dispatch.
Manufacturers — We need more products, so if you are interested in reaching out first, please feel free to do so 🙂
We have already started on this journey, so have your say and be a part of what happens next!