A customized program turns your products into a canvas to design masterpieces exactly to their standards (but within your brand guidelines), investing their time and making it their own. In fact, Spectrum clients see an average 5X increase in time-on-site with users customizing products.
Spectrum Creator is the technology that supports these customization capabilities within our industry-leading 3D platform. Creator provides your users with a full suite of tools to work with, such as colors, text treatments, photo integrations and more. As users personalize their products, options are updated and displayed in real time, encouraging trial and deeper exploration.
Some of the more popular options available within Spectrum Creator include:
Photo upload and integration – providing users with the ability to upload and integrate any image they can legally use. AI-powered moderation tools through Spectrum Protect help brands moderate photo usage for our clients.
Text treatments – providing users with multiple fonts and pathing options, even monograms to personalize gifts further
Additional art – design options such as configurable patterns, templates, and graphic libraries
Recipe packs – allow for bulk orders with consistent custom product recipes where 1-2 options vary slightly (a roster of jerseys with consistent logo but different names, for example)
Color Options – letting users alter the colors of your product and accessories to create the exact combination they want.
Humans value what we spend time on, and the same principle applies with product customization. Spectrum clients routinely see much higher rates of conversion and profit margins on custom SKUs. Additionally, Spectrum Creator provides brands:
Higher rates of conversion and profit on custom SKUs
Sample designs to inspire further exploration
Adaptability with influencer or co-branded assets to nimbly align with marketing efforts
Seasonality by pairing stock SKU’s with time-sensitive/seasonal artwork
Incremental word-of-mouth and social sharing through personalization
Product customization inspires users to express themselves with their favorite brands and products. Spectrum Creator provides the palette by which brand fans can create the exact masterpiece for themselves or as a gift.
Product customization empowers your biggest fans to create their own unique masterpieces. Unfortunately that empowerment can come with potential risk since you are giving some of your brand control over to the consumer. Smart moderation tools and process provides a balance between the freedom your fans desire and adhering to brand and legal guidelines.
Spectrum Protect, our cutting-edge AI moderation tool, helps brands protect against copyright infringements, vulgarities and inappropriate content by:
Dictating the level of risk mitigation they are comfortable with
Modifying the process to include human moderation and fit within their team’s workflow (i.e. when/how to request for human review capabilities)
Defining the level of human involvement in the review process , reducing overhead associated with human moderation
Scaling up for localization as moderation can be implemented across multiple languages
Protection across media
With Spectrum, consumers personalize products by inputting their own text, images and even audio files delivered via QR code. Giving this level of creative license to your brand fans drives deeper loyalty, but requires moderation as users are free to input and upload anything. To protect brand integrity and expedite the process, Spectrum Protect defines differences between profane material vs. IP- brand issues, providing pass/fail results.
The following two flowcharts show where Spectrum Protect plays a role within a typical moderation process for user-uploaded image and text:
FOR TEXT MODERATION
Spectrum provides clients with a default deny list informed by over 10+ years of moderatioN
Clients can fully customize text deny list with terms specific to their competition, industry, etc.
Users can request review from the brand, providing administrators with the ability to reject or approve individual cases
FOR IMAGE MODERATION
AI can differentiate between inappropriate and copyright-protected content
Advanced optical character recognition (OCR) can identify text embedded in an image allowing for detection of profane text within an image
for audio moderation
Files are delivered via URL or QR code
Audio is scanned to ensure brand adherence – if not, users are prompted to re-record their message.
AI-powered brand protection against vulgarities and copyright-related material.
Product customization allows your biggest brand fans to personalize your products to best fit their personalities. Without stifling their creativity, it is still important to set guidelines to protect your brand long-term. Spectrum Protect and our AI moderation tools provide efficient and well-tested methods to save teams time and money while safely protecting your brand.
Users who customize products are your most loyal fans, generating valuable primary data as they invest their time on your site. Harnessed properly, this data provides brands great opportunities for remarketing and retargeting as custom orders are left in shopping carts. And once they’re ordered, custom products have administrative needs like any other products, to administer orders, track overall sales, monitor conversion rates, track revenue and much more.
Spectrum Intelligence is the technology that allows our clients to track and administer the customization activity on their site, unlocking the best benefits to product customization. When a user has finalized their design and shared, saved or put in a cart, this saved “recipe” becomes the basis for the two main capabilities Spectrum Intelligence provides: reporting and administration.
Custom SKUs convert at a much higher rate and with higher profit margins. Imagine monitoring custom product sales in real time, demonstrating the value of your product customization program. Spectrum Intelligence provides proprietary data insights with licensable advanced reporting that allows our clients to:
Refine and optimize the brand’s custom program based on real-time order data
Understand and guide long-term product trends based on custom product data (such as popular color combinations and option configurations)
Optimize remarketing and retargeting opportunities with custom recipes user have saved
Manage stock products and refine custom programs based on real-time order data to align with changing consumer needs
Evolve stock products to reflect popular customization options and trends
Evaluate customer profiles, experience paths, landing pages and KPIs to further optimize the experience
Product customization is the one type of personalization that truly deepens the relationship between consumers and brands, and the data generated provides a depth of insights into your products and loyal fans that you never knew possible.
We’re excited to announce the launch of Spectrum 3DTrue, our newest rendering engine that brings our clients’ products alive with crystal-clear, photo-realistic 3D. 3DTrue’s best-in-class visualization offers high-level animated states, multi-variant lighting and true to life material representation. With 3DTrue, the variety and complexity of materials are represented with 100% accuracy, including glass, translucent plastics, iridescents, detailed fabric, metallics and much more. Lastly, 3DTrue is future-proofing today’s 3D assets with the ability to apply existing product aesthetics to future product images, saving time and money on future photoshoots.
See below for more details:
Unique Capabilities of 3DTrue
Image Based Lighting
Image Based Lighting (IBL) is a technique in which we are able to dynamically light 3D scenes, assets, or environments using an .HDRI image instead of only using 3D lights.
3DTrue captures real-world light, and simulates how that environment would physically impact a 3D asset, leading to more realistic looking models.
We can leverage clients .hdri images to exactly match their existing product lighting requirements for increased consistency.
Can be used in conjunction with 3D lights for the optimal look.
Physically Based Rendering (PBR)
Physically Based Rendering (PBR) is a way to render a 3D object using properties that mimic how light interacts with objects in the real world. PBR materials have specific properties (roughness, metalness, diffuse/albedo, normals) and can be created using industry standard software.
Spectrum uses an array of industry standard approaches to author materials following a PBR workflow, allowing the team to seamlessly integrate them into our pipeline to be visualized over the web.
Real-time rendering is the act of rendering 3D models and textures in a live environment, such as via a website/WebGL. This is critical for Spectrum because, unlike some 3D customizers, we aren’t just rendering still images and switching between them. Our process more closely resembles video game development by rendering products right before your eyes.
Keyframe Animation/Rigging Capabilities
When animation can assist in demonstrating a product’s full benefit, 3DTrue utilizes keyframe animation to create fluid and complex animation movements. Keyframe animation provides the ability to use a rig, allowing for rigid animations, where no product part is being bent, deformed or stretched during the animation, such as a knife opening from its handle
Glow and Emissive Properties
With these tools, we are able to use the emissive properties of materials to have parts of a model cast their own light.
Translucency is the physical property of semi-transparent materials and how light passes through them. By utilizing translucency, we can more realistically represent products with transparency, such as jewelry and glassware.
Clear coat is a 3D property of a material that simulates the coating of a transparent layer of paint over a colored layer. Commonly used when rendering car models, clear coat allows Spectrum 3DTrue to provide more realistic looks for any product that is manufactured with a similar process.
Anistropy is a special property where the shape of light reflection changes based on the direction from which it is viewed. This allows 3DTrue to render specific materials more realistically such as brushed metal, vinyl, and velvet.
With 3DTrue technology, we now have the ability to animate models within our scene as well as the camera itself. This allows us to create dramatic entrances and effects within customizers, and support a range of dynamic movements.
Post Processing Effects
3DTrue provides a host of capabilities for applying specific filters and 2D effects after the image is processed on the screen, in real-time 3D. This opens a whole new world of dynamic and efficient effects that can be applied to our clients’ models, mimicking how real-life cameras operate. Effects include:
Bloom: Mimics how light is imperfectly captured within a real camera lens, as a gaussian effect where the light spreads out.
Chromatic Aberration: Captures how colors are imperfectly rendered within a real-life camera.
Depth of Field: Represents how a camera focuses on elements within the scene.
Grain: Imitates film grain on a camera, for more realistic filmic scenes.
Color Processing:Includes various settings and filters that can affect how colors are interpreted by a camera and rendered within our 3D scenes.
We offer support for the two most ubiquitous file formats in 3D animation, allowing us to render and integrate multiple file formats with minimal effort.
GLTF is a file format for 3D scenes that aims to become the “JPG” of 3D file formats, a standardized format that will work across multiple platforms
.GLB differs from GLTF in that it allows textures and animations to be directly compressed within it instead of being referenced externally. Platforms like Facebook are starting to standardize this format, which will make 3D products easier to share across social media.
Spectrum uses .GLB files a bit differently than other 3D programs. We don’t use the texture information imbedded in the files, allowing us to set-up assets to be more customizable
We also are able to work with .OBJ, .FBX, .STP and .STEP file formats
This capability allows for live swapping between models on a webpage. One model is rendered and easily switched to another, sometimes accompanied with a real-time animation, without a page refresh.
Sub-surface scattering is the physical diffusion of light within a semi-translucent material, such as the glow of your skin when you hold a flashlight up to your hand, and is utilized to achieve greater realism of products.
Please reach out if you’d like a more in-depth demonstration of Spectrum’s 3DTrue capabilities and how they can benefit your ecommerce program.
As the Spectrum Customizer has grown, we’ve learned some products, and categories, lend themselves to product customization more readily than others. In the highly-competitive technology category, it’s critical for brands to avoid becoming a commodity or building a “me too” image. For this category, offering product customization is a great way to differentiate the brand, while also creating unique points of contact and engagement with their top fans.
Generally speaking, technology consumers thrive on expressing themselves through the products they buy, leveling up their product experience with uniqueness when possible. One need only look at the custom subculture in gaming and music as examples of this underlying trend. Unfortunately, in a category where consumers demand innovation and have a passion for self-expression, few brands capitalize on those audience needs, falling into a potential parity trap.
For brands interested in providing product customization, it is critical to find the best customization opportunities with product lines. Spectrum helps our clients evaluate product popularity, velocity, release schedules, product styling and ease of embellishment to determine the best product customization opportunities. Within the technology sector, these types of options can take a variety of forms, such as:
Personal photos wrapped around a Bluetooth speaker
Custom graphics for removable headphone tags
Color and texture options for gaming controllers
As users spend time customizing their favorite products, the quality of the user experience must inspire their confidence. The best brands deliver a seamless UX brand experience, combined with high-quality product images, allowing potential buyers to thoroughly inspect their custom product at every angle and purchase confidently, resulting in far fewer dissatisfied customers. In fact, this type of product experience and inspection perfectly aligns with an audience that is inherently technology-focused.
However, on-screen customization without the ability to effectively deliver user-designed files to a factory is useless. Spectrum begins our process at this point, working backwards, ensuring 100% factory integration with our clients and production facilities. If your existing production facilities may not be able to easily handle custom production, Spectrum has over 45 factory partners across the world that can augment your facilities, providing multiple options to fulfill your tech audience’s wishes.
If you’re looking to take advantage of your strongest brand advocates, and give them ways to express themselves with your products, consider adding a product customization platform and separating yourself from your competition.
Spectrum’s portfolio of leading consumer brands, provides a unique perspective into ecommerce and personalization trends, showing engagement trends between a brand’s top products and its most dedicated fanbase. Insights gleaned demonstrate why product customization successfully drives ROI.
But beyond its financial impact, product customization provides substantial benefits that can multiply a brand’s investment:
More dynamic marketing opportunities that speak directly to your top brand fanatics
Additional inventory control and optimization opportunities
Opportunity to align your brand with culture in an extremely unique and engaging way
Many consumer brands spend significant amounts of their marketing budget tapping into cultural events and trends relevant to their audiences. However, very few of these achieve brand alignment in a way that feels genuine. At best, they are a temporary lift should it capture the audience’s attention. At worst, they can be perceived as disingenuous by their most loyal audiences. Brands that find strategic ways to connect their products to culture can create more impactful and relevant relationships with consumers.
Forward-thinking companies can align their brands and products to support important cultural topics that are meaningful to their audiences, further strengthening the relationship with their enthusiasts.
Unique cross-promotions can help brands offer unique and limited product collaborations to spur incremental sales and generate buzz among two brand audiences.
Whether capitalizing on blue-chip spokespersons or aligning with niche influencers, the flexibility of product customization gives brands additional chances to nimbly adapt their product lines by providing influencer-designed assets for co-creation opportunities.
Strategically capitalizing on seasonal promotional opportunities can be a struggle for many brands. Product customization allows brands to pair time-sensitive art/photos/designs to stock SKUs.
With built-in flexibility, product customizers offer brands an excellent and effective way to tap into culture in unique ways. Nimbleness in adding unique designs, patterns or partnerships can provide brands with great opportunities to culturally align their products and audiences in completely new and unique ways.
Spectrum’s portfolio of leading consumer brands, provides a unique perspective into ecommerce and personalization trends, showing engagement trends between a brand’s top products and its most dedicated fanbase. The insights we’re able to derive demonstrate why product customization can successfully drive ROI.
Beyond its financial impact, a product customizer provides substantial and unique benefits that can contribute to its ROI:
More dynamic marketing opportunities that speak directly to your top brand fanatics
Additional inventory and supply chain control
Opportunity to align your brand with culture in an extremely unique and engaging way
Customized products provide a compelling way of building brand loyalty. This post demonstrates how and why brands will use their custom products in marketing initiatives outside of ecommerce. Upcoming posts will address how product customizers provide unique inventory control opportunities as well as provide examples of how customization allows brands to tap into culture like never before.
Brands have long featured their most popular products in their marketing – those that best represent the brand with the broadest appeal. Brands providing product customization have a further advantage since they have unique glimpses (through primary data) into the minds of their top enthusiasts, allowing them to showcase products that appeal to their audience’s most personal tastes. With that level of data, what would it look like as customized products begin to take the lead in marketing efforts?
BRINGING CUSTOM TO VIRTUAL AND BRICKS-AND-MORTAR
Spectrum’s industry-leading 3D product visualization allows customized products to seamlessly enhance existing brand AR initiatives, creating further product immersion. And these same top quality assets can bring product customization to the retail environment through kiosks and mobile platforms, creating omnichannel, digitally innovative opportunities to bricks-and-mortar.
Consumers are getting better and better at tuning out digital marketing, so brands must find increasingly unique ways to capture their audience’s attention. Spectrum’s product customization platform provides dynamic product assets and specific designs for brands to use in their paid media and email initiatives, allowing brands to garner more interest from the ever-coveted younger demographics, without alienating other segments of their audience.
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT + OPTIMIZATION
Product customization data from the Spectrum platform provides brands with key insights into the most popular options, colors, accessories, designs and SKU’s of their “superfans.” Armed with this level of product configuration data from top fans, some brands have made functional and aesthetic changes to their products. One client changed their factory-default options after data revealed a majority of customers were customizing one option over the original default color. Additionally, we see forward-thinking brands designing products specifically optimized for customization options, going even beyond the standard SKU offering.
Personalization in digital marketing has always been a goal for top brands, utilizing a mix of primary and secondary data to craft more unique and engaging messaging to their audiences. Brands that offer product customization are able to expand on this personalization at an entirely new level, engaging with brand fans in unique and unexpected ways, with products they have personally customized.
The topic of this blog may be different than normal, but it is crucially important. Two years ago, Spectrum Customizer, and our sister firm, Pollinate, committed to acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and took action to ensure our workplace reflected our shared values of diversity, equity and inclusion. And while no accounting of effort will be sufficient, our firms have been increasing our efforts year after year. We’ve been remiss in this reporting, but we are proud that our work never stopped.
While DEI efforts at our companies began back in 2019, we refocused and accelerated those endeavors in earnest following the disturbing and devastating events of 2020, including the murder of George Floyd. Prioritizing tangible action, we achieved the following:
Augmenting employee benefits
Implemented employee donation matching policy, resulting in a total of $6,677 donated to 38 non-profit organizations in 2020
Introduced 8 hours of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) per employee annually, totalling over 600 hours of community support each year
Added Juneteenth as a holiday in 2020
Pledged to spend company money locally. Moving forward, all employee and client gifts come from local small businesses.
Donated 500+ hours to develop a Call to Safety and UNICA domestic violence resource awareness pro bono campaign, as a direct response to the staggering increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic
Providing community resources
Launched Portland OpenPath, a community collective with the goal of bringing diverse voices and talent into the tech and advertising industries of Portland. We offer members of overlooked communities grants to attend code school, as well as professional development assistance including resume and portfolio reviews, informational and mock interview, and networking opportunities.
Improving the hiring processes
Diversified the job boards where our listings appeared, to ensure they were visible and accessible to all
Revised every job description to remove any gendered language
Altered our interview process to be more equitable by providing question templates for hiring managers to ensure all candidates have a level playing field
Continued discussions around unconscious-biases
Set 2021 DEI goals across key areas, including employee onboarding and retention, pro bono work and volunteer opportunities
Since 2020, we have primarily focused our efforts in the following two areas:
Worked with Cinthia Manuel again to review internal data and practices to make recommendations for improvement
Successfully took part in our first Emerging Leaders Internship program
Received a grant from PMP in 2022 to meet with a DEI consultant (Jesse Hyatt from https://hyattassociates.com/) to better align our 2022 goals with what our team is able to accomplish
We have, and will continue to move forward with our employee donation matching program, currently in its 3rd year
Continue with virtual DEI company training
Pro bono and volunteering
2021 pro bono work included a series of Spanish training videos and an ad for El Programa
Expanded Portland OpenPath by partnering with Learning.com to offer Epicodus grants to two students
While we are proud of the steps we have taken to date, we recognize there is always more that we can do as leaders in our industries. It takes constant commitment to improve and grow. Moving forward, we will set a goal of annually publishing the results of our previous year’s DEI efforts to continue to hold ourselves accountable for this necessary work.
Omnichannel has been an ever-present marketing objective (and buzzword) for the better part of a decade. Even before the proliferation of the internet and mobile apps, brands sought to provide a consistent experience across various touchpoints for consumers to purchase their products. But accelerated digital buying behaviors, combined with the proliferation of mobile devices, means successful brands must provide as many retail “paths” as possible, all while consumers’ expectations only increase. This rapid digital acceleration has led to newer retail-specific terms being adopted such as “phygital” (combination of physical and digital environments) and “BOPIS” (Bought Online, Picked up In Store).
And yet, even these new terms are simply the latest means of defining the importance of brands removing as many roadblocks to purchase as possible. And for those wondering if this trend will subside in the future, it’s worth noting three of the biggest retailers in the country, Walmart, Macy’s and Target have all significantly invested in their omnichannel infrastructure over the last two years to keep up with consumers’ demand.
Combining Omnichannel with Product Personalization
Investment in a product customization program, much like an omnichannel retail strategy, deepens a relationship between brand and consumer. Even better, consider integrating product customization into your omni outlets, establishing an exclusive experience only available through your branded channels: e-commerce, in-store, live events, etc.
In supporting an omnichannel retail strategy, product personalization provides additional levels of audience insight and engagement through:
In-store product customization opportunities, utilizing kiosks and mobile platforms that draft off the e-commerce experience, can allow consumers to start a purchase on one device and finish in-store while also choosing how they want the product delivered to them.
Differentiating your stock SKUs from other outlets (Amazon, e-retailers) and adding value to the shopping experience, only available from your platforms with an increased margin.
One centralized platform between e-commerce and retail allows for deep user configuration trend analysis including product preferences across different geographies and audience segments while also facilitating more robust customer service through centralized customer and order information.
Giving consumers true multi-access points to the brand provides the best chance to truly show the brand’s full potential, particularly when integrating across events, e-commerce, and retail. Efficiencies and adoptions in fulfillment provide greater options for consumer service, providing further differentiation from competitors.
Increased data sharing between retail and e-commerce provides unique re-marketing opportunities for custom products that have been abandoned, driving consumers to the final retail transaction of their choosing.
Spectrum can help you sharpen your competitive edge
Forward-thinking brands are investing in comprehensive omnichannel strategies at scale, giving them significant competitive advantages. These custom product omnichannel strategies are best served when complemented with accelerated custom product production via in- or near-shore factories. When fully optimized, custom multi-channel integrations streamline company-wide operations, resulting in faster production times, reduced waste and emissions. Additionally, we see overall higher customer satisfaction, increased time engaging the custom experiences, time in-store, etc. Imagine the ability to give your biggest fans the exact products they want, personalized to their liking on the digital device of their own choosing, and delivered in whatever manner they like. It’s a reality that many of our clients are already enjoying, and we’d be happy to show you how the Spectrum product customization platform can help take your omnichannel strategies to the next level.
Enterprise-level Order Management systems (OMS) are great at managing ongoing and standard production processes by managing order details with ease and transparency throughout the lifecycle. Those strengths break down, however, when custom products are added to the mix, demanding more flexibility and nimbleness than most legacy systems can provide.
This disconnect can be a large barrier for brands when they are considering adding custom products to their eCommerce system.
With that in mind, Spectrum has developed our own OMS, providing our clients with an effective stop-gap system, specifically designed for customized products, but with similar benefits to enterprise solutions.
A Better Approach
Our proprietary system simplifies integration for custom manufacturing, providing an efficient option to larger, more enterprise solutions. For some of our clients, Spectrum’s OMS allows them to circumvent these legacy systems when necessary, providing a cost-efficient solution. Additionally, our solution provides the exact necessary features for managing your custom orders, without the need for feature-intensive enterprise alternates. Sometimes, simplicity is the best solution.
Designed by Spectrum, Informed by Clients
We immerse ourselves in our clients’ business to understand their struggles and pain points across the customer experience. With that feedback, we developed a flexible and lightweight OMS, with the ability to work across many different types of manufacturing facilities and printing types.
Additionally, our deep experience with factory integration influenced the features we built-in, helping us recognize where our clients would find the most value. Features such as moderation (helping your teams successfully monitor user content) and data security (our OMS keeps PII data secure while allowing teams to handle order processing) have proven to be among the most impactful features our clients are enjoying.
With the unique and promising nature of custom products, we designed our OMS to optimize the level of reporting from the system. Access to customer data from custom orders can be combined with regular eCommerce data to provide additional insights into a brand’s most loyal customers. These insights and a more specific profile of your custom audience may also inform future marketing and media decisions.
Benefits for Your Team
The benefits of Spectrum’s OMS extend across multiple departments within an organization. However, our experience has shown two specific departments stand to gain the most from our OMS and the product information it provides:
Customer Service – Our system helps seamlessly facilitate warranty claims, re-ordering, order tracking and more
Factory Operations – Our OMS provides full transparency for order fulfillment, shipping and logistics, and automated pack lists and return labeling. It’s also an effective option for workarounds
Spectrum’s proprietary OMS is one of many ways we’ve evolved our platform to make product customization easy and help facilitate manufacturing. Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to show you more.