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Special Touch: How personalised products hold the key to growth

Whilst on holiday on the Norfolk coastline earlier this summer I popped into a Joules store in the tiny town of Burnham Market and was amazed to see hoodies featuring names of local towns.

Despite being part of the fashion industry and familiar with specially produced units I was still surprised to see personalised products for a shop in such a small town and was tempted to buy it just for the novelty factor; something I’m sure was not just limited to me and will have undoubtedly have helped boost the store’s sales.

It is these personalised touches, which have helped lifestyle brand and retailer Joules achieve such success over the last year, with turnover in the year to May 31 growing 19% to £79m as EBITDA more than doubled to £7.4m. Founder Tom Joule told me he would be attempting to do more similar products as they had enjoyed such a strong pick up in regional stores.

This is most certainly something other chains and labels can learn from, as in an ever corporate world many consumers are looking for something a little more individual.

A recent survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit also found consumers require a more sophisticated marketing approach as most consider existing methods, such as personalised messages on mailouts, “superficial”.

Retailers and brands must therefore adapt their marketing and products to suit consumers’ needs. Shoppers are looking for personalised pieces but these must be tailored, whether it be different colours for various towns, a change in graphics on a T-shirt or simply window displays to cater for the local village. Independent retailers have spent years fine tuning their offering to their locals’ likes and dislikes and larger chains could most certainly learn from this.


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