Technology, customization, zero distance and the broker channel

by Catherine Kargas, Vice President, MARCON

(Dec. 2, 2013) – Simply place the IKEA catalogue in the spot where you’re considering adding a new piece of furniture, scan the catalogue with the augmented reality app on your mobile device and select the desired item.

IKEA’s augmented reality feature then projects the item into your home by layering it over a real-time view of your room captured through your device’s camera. The app also lets you experience the scale of the objects in relation to your living space.

The ability to visualize a specific piece of furniture of interest in your own space before purchase: Now that’s customization!

IKEA is just one of several consumer-facing organizations using technology to offer an increasingly customized experience to its customers. It is part of a trend referred to as mass customization. “At the core of [this trend] is the principle that customers want products and services as unique as their individual tastes and preferences, at prices that translate into superior value.”

Companies’ adoption of mass customization is driven by heightened customer expectations and the quest to develop and sustain competitive advantage. New technologies are facilitating a new way of thinking about marketing strategy and enabling organizations to “connect” with their customers in creative ways, differentiating them from the competition. It is in fact, a trend toward “zero distance”: a new proximity to the customer.

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About the Author

Catherine Kargas, an accredited business strategist, is Vice President at MARCON, a strategy consultancy serving the financial services, energy and transportation industries. Catherine has 25 years of consulting experience. In the area of insurance, she has worked with P&C, life and group insurance providers. Catherine is the Chair of Electric Mobility Canada and Future Mobility and Autonomous Vehicle Lead. She also heads the work undertaken by MARCON and its NA partners in studying the impacts of driverless technology. She is an collaborator and contributor to the Insurance 2023 project.