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Customization is the Path to Victory for These 4 Startups

Startup[s using customization to propel business

The ecommerce industry is a notoriously competitive, dominated by powerful corporations with lavish marketing budgets. As a result, small business owners often find it difficult to break into the online retail world, but the burgeoning customization movement promises to help level the playing field.

Whether it is a custom made product such as a tie, or a custom service such as a personalized eco-tour, the influence of personalization on the shopping experience is significant. In fact, a 2013 consumer study reveals that nearly half of the customers surveyed buy more from businesses that personalize.

We’ve found four startups that have perfected the art of customization, and are reaping major rewards.

1. TryCaviar

An ingenious startup with a catchy name, Caviar is sure to make your belly rumble. Caviar partners with some of the most respected restaurants across the country to deliver meals customized by dietary restrictions and budget, right to your office door.

Simply enter your zip code (or search by city), peruse the picture menu of a participating restaurant and then create your personalized feast. There is no minimum order requirement, and you can track your order via real-time GPS. Within an hour, you’ll be headed to the break room to refuel on a first-class culinary creation.

Offering a personalized premium food experience, Caviar is taking food deliver to unheard of echelons.

2. Hatch

Named by BusinessInsider as one of the Best Startups of the Year 2013, Hatch is also recognized as one of the Best Online Shopping Sites of 2013. Here’s why Hatch is earning huge kudos.

From custom clocks to personalized pillows, everything you discover on Hatch can be made to order, and because Hatch screens its makers for product quality and creativity, you can count on value. Choose how you want to personalize your one of a kind product (with a date, location, picture, or saying) and Hatch will show you the products that you have to select from. Once you’ve found the product you want, you can ask the maker a question, or go ahead and place your order. Hatch also offers product categories, such as wedding, jewelry and home, which further simplifies the site’s easy to navigate customization process.

3. CarrieHammer

Create a custom made dress in three easy steps? Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. It’s Carrie Hammer, a distinctive clothing company that will shatter all of your notions about custom apparel.

Launched in 2012 with the goal of providing stylish professional wear to women, Carrie Hammer makes creating your very own dress a refreshingly easy process. Start by selecting a dress style, then choose a size, sleeve length and dress length. Before you know it your custom made dress will arrive at your door. Or, book an appointment with a Carrie Hammer stylist and enjoy a free, private fitting in your home or office. You have 30 days to return the item for a refund.

Founded on the belief that the dress should fit the woman, the woman shouldn’t have to fit in the dress, we are not the least bit shocked that Carrie Hammer is getting shower with amazing press.

4. ModCloth

Launched in a dorm room by lovebirds Susan and Eric Koger, ModCloth has morphed into one of America’s fastest growing online retailers, boasting offices from Pittsburg to San Francisco.

From retro shoes to vintage home decor, this social-shopping startup is on a mission to democratize the fashion industry by giving the consumer a voice. One way they do so is through their highly engaging “Be the Buyer” program, which gives users the power to vote apparel from budding designers into production. ModCloth’s “Make the Cut” contest inspires creative types to submit their designs and compete for a chance to be a featured on the ModCloth website.

Today’s customer craves customization, and they’re willing to pay more to get it. Give them what they want and you’ll not only win their loyalty, you’ll also capture a valuable brand advocate. If you’re a small business owner who wants to make it in the crowded ecommerce marketplace, offering custom made products could be your ticket to success.

Alexia Chianis

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