Amazon has obtained a number of patents on product customization. This shows that it can provide both customized products and a promoter of a radical transformation of the way goods are designed.
Amazon has made great efforts to reshape the consumer goods market, from expanding the range of choices to sharply cutting prices, to significantly reducing delivery times. It doesn’t do much, but one area that can be done a lot is the products themselves and how they were originally formed.
The benefits to the company may be huge, mainly in the following points: 1. Can control some exclusive customized products; 2. Deeper understanding of consumer preferences, thereby consciously or unconsciously affecting product design; Make Amazon a valuable asset in design choices, thereby enhancing the company’s overall economic value.
Regarding the patent issue, there have been reports in the media that starting from 2017, a complete garment cutting line will be designed according to the requirements of users.
A patent granted last September described an “on-demand device” that involved a wide range of projects, from car parts to toys to consumer electronics to clothing.
What Amazon is interested in is not just how these custom things are built, but how manufacturers and consumers specify them. The patent granted last August describes how manufacturers use the various options of the product to populate the catalog and detail the corresponding shopping page (very similar to the Amazon product page). On this page, people can choose products for their own production.
Why is Amazon likely to move toward more customized products? The following reasons can be explained:
1. Immediate economic returns. By selling custom merchandise in its “first-party” merchandise (including its just-starting apparel business), Amazon may receive a discounted price for a unique product. But this is not its style, it is constantly focused on lowering prices.
Amazon can of course provide tools for on-demand production through cloud computing. But as they say, the income from doing so is unlikely to work compared to the already large cloud computing operations of Amazon.com.
2. Customers may like to customize products. Amazon obviously likes to let customers repurchase products on their own websites.
3. The most important reason for providing customized services is that the same products in the mass market do not actually involve consumer preferences. Commodities are conceived by product designers and manufacturers in the early stages of their development.
In contrast, by continuously collecting user preference orders, Amazon can accumulate real-time data sets of user choices and preferences. Just like Amazon’s recommendation system, “people who bought this also bought x.”
Amazon is not only a very strong retail gatekeeper, but also a very powerful gatekeeper for the design and manufacture of physical goods. However, Amazon wants to achieve this goal in the face of this resistance, one of the major obstacles is economic. Selling customized merchandise may violate Amazon’s economies of scale.
However, to promote the development of customized goods, an important issue facing Amazon is how to avoid the actual customization costs. But considering that millions of users continue to give praise, in addition to selling “junk products” at a lower price, this is undoubtedly an attractive direction.