Learn about our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts here.

Our commitment to improve and grow

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: 

  1. 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
  2. Acting local
    • 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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: 

  1. Employee onboarding and retention
    • Continued our relationship with Portland Means Progress (PMP), with monthly event attendance (open to all staff) and goal setting
    • Set a spending goal with minority and BIPOC-owned small businesses in Portland, OR
    • Held one company-wide, virtual DEI training with Cinthia Manuel from Authentica Consulting in 2021
    • 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
  1. 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

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.

Supporting Omnichannel

The power of omnichannel: events, ecommerce, retail

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

Combining Product Personalization and Omnichannel Retail:
Providing customers the product they want, on the device of their choosing, customized at every touchpoint, delivered how they want it.

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.

Order Management Systems

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.

OMS: Shipping, Customer Service, Marketing Insight, Moderation Ability, Factory Transparency

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:

  1. Customer Service – Our system helps seamlessly facilitate warranty claims, re-ordering, order tracking and more
  2. 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.

Enhanced 3D Product Visualization

Our clients continue to see the benefits of Spectrums’ 3D product customization platform. However, as consumers’ digital behaviors evolve and mature, expedited by the pandemic, we keep our eyes to the future to provide the most advanced customer personalization experiences possible. To that end, we’re excited to announce some new features and updates:

Enhanced 3D Graphics

In our obviously humble and unbiased opinion, product customization offers the best way for a brand to differentiate it’s e-commerce existence. Brands that provide customers more opportunities to customize and design around/in the brand for themselves, see increases in profit margin, order quantity, digital health AND brand loyalty.

Consumers’ digital expectations of brands continue to increase, and we’ve updated the Spectrum platform to help our clients cater to their enthusiasts, providing even more personalization opportunities within their existing product lines.

Our enhanced 3D graphics features allow for:

  • More complex functions and layers, meaning more flexibility with text box placement, text treatments such as outlines and curves plus far more pattern options.
  • Even more customization opportunities including increasing the number of images to upload and position on a product.
  • Faster load times of 3D assets while increasing the product visual fidelity.

Increased Print File Capabilities

Spectrum has achieved a 100% factory integration rate with our clients – a result we are very proud of. To continue to provide the most flexible and scalable solution for our clients, we recently updated our file structure to:

  • Support more functionality while reducing the support needed from our internal 3D team, increasing efficiency.
  • Now support vector files which are lighter over the wire and provide greater quality than rasterized solutions.
  • Improve overall print quality.

These are just a few of the ongoing updates we’ve pushed live for some of our clients and roll out for others. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us for a demo.

Ready Assessment

An effective means of increasing revenue and profit margin across many categories, the benefits of product customization go deep. However, implementing a product customization platform seems like a daunting task for any organization. The complexity is vast: it includes new e-commerce integration, requiring consensus across multiple teams. It also requires supply chain evaluation (like adding a new embellishment partner, or opening discussions with your current factories). And, of course, your merchandise team needs to evaluate the “right” products, and on-brand customization options. That’s why choosing an external partner to collaborate with, and help you navigate a successful launch, is critical. 

After implementing dozens of custom solutions at a 100% success rate over eight years, Spectrum developed a thorough discovery process to replicate that success for our clients — every time. Our Ready Assessment Phase is designed to facilitate our clients successfully planning and preparing their organizations for launching a scalable, revenue-driving product customization platform.

Spectrum’s Ready Assessment Phases consist of cross-team consensus building (COHESION), future-proofing (SCALABILITY), 3D garment appearance and configuration rules (GUARDRAILS), and factory integration (FAST PRODUCTION). It’s a two-phase process, including:

  1. Ready Assessment Kick-Off: Here we review the statement of work, clarify teams and roles, and review the final solution — including revenue projections and planning documentation. 
  2. Ready Assessment Working Session: A one-day collaborative session of team members vital to the project’s success, that focuses in four key areas:
  • Product Evaluation. What category(s) and product(s) make the most sense for customization? From popularity, product velocity, new releases, product styling to ease of embellishment, the Spectrum team is well-versed in helping navigate these decisions as well as ROI modeling.
  • Future-Proofing. Our team will work with you to launch a compelling custom products experience today, while also strategizing and building to meet your brand’s long-term customization needs.  Throughout the Ready Assessment, we’ll be exploring custom trends, technology advancements, and additional features to consider after the initial launch, keeping your customers excited about your next innovation within product customization.
  • Systems Integration. A Spectrum technical resource as well a factory integration team will be assigned to help your team shape the systems architecture (e-commerce and in-retail), 3rd party integrations, as well as factory-ready file delivery to the embellisher. No stone is left unturned, ensuring the end-to-end solution is well-defined.
  • Marketing We’ll be evaluating customer profiles, experience paths, landing pages and KPIs to help inform how marketing can take advantage of product customization.

For our Ready Assessment to be as effective as possible, we ask our clients to take an active role in the process, providing feedback and input in key areas, including:

  • Providing a sample product list of each intended product with configuration ideas as well as potential rules
  • Identify a single stakeholder who will lead and be responsible for feedback consolidation
  • Setting aside time for key departments to be interviewed by the Spectrum team for 1-3 hours to learn, collaborate and THINK about not just today’s needs, but tomorrow’s vision on the role custom products play in the brand’s long-term growth.

If you would like to hear more about Spectrum’s 3D product customization solution, implemented by brands such as JBL, Chapstick, Trek, Levi Strauss &Co., Keurig, Carhartt and others, we’d be happy to walk you through a demo.

After implementing dozens of custom solutions at a 100% success rate over eight years, Spectrum developed a thorough discovery process to replicate that success for our clients —

Here’s The Gift-Giving Option that can Help Your Team Win Black Friday

It’s official. Every year, Black Friday is earlier and earlier. In fact, NBC News reported that in 2019, surveys conducted by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics found 56 percent of shoppers started buying gifts for the holidays during the first week of November, up from 48 percent in 2009. 

Nevertheless, Black Friday sales traditionally have a huge impact on annual sales. So, in addition to the regular e-mail and social media marketing tactics to help boost an e-commerce business, there’s another thing you can do to amp up your Black Friday orders — especially if your gift offerings are looking like Slim Pickens. 

Product customization. 

Think about it — if a customer would love that product, but in another color or pattern…why not give them the opportunity to make it personalized? A bespoke option might just be the bump they need to make that purchase. 

In March 2020, The New York Times reported on the growing customization trend, publishing a prediction by Jagjit Singh Srai, head of the Center for International Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, who said, “Most major consumer companies would have a customization operation within five years.” Turns out that with Spectrum’s end-to-end solution, the numbers are already here to support it: our clients saw an increase of over 200 percent in custom orders between the week preceding 2020’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And the bonus? Tracking the options your customers return to, again and again, is invaluable market feedback for your product development team.  

What opportunities are you missing out by not offering custom product opportunities to your customers?  Spectrum can help you best determine your options – click below to schedule a demo!

“A bespoke option might just be the bump they need to make that purchase”