April 12, 2004, 12:00 AM

Imaging technology gets set for the next online retail trend: `Made-for-me`

From monogrammed jerseys to mugs, more retailers are looking to the possibilities of custom products, says Scene7. New technology aimed at broad retailer distribution will let shoppers visualize the custom item online before they buy.

Online retailers with the basics of product presentation in place already are looking to the next generation of imaging technology to support a growing trend in online retail: an ever-broadening range of merchandise that can be customized and ordered online, says Doug Mack, CEO of imaging technology provider Scene7. After initial forays into custom apparel on the part of leaders such as LandsEnd.com and the custom items long available at dedicated gift sites such as PersonalCreations.com, more retailers are becoming interested in what Mack calls “made-for-me.

“Since somebody figured out the fulfillment process of making lots of one for consumers, I see a mega trend in made-for-me items,” Mack says. “I talk to retailers every day of the week, and this is a big wave that is going to hit. The Internet is enabling it because the customer can go online, have an interactive experience with the retailer, order custom goods and have it drop shipped to them.”

To support that trend, Scene7 is developing enhanced visualization technology for broad distribution. Set to debut in the second half of the year, it will provide online shoppers with a detailed look at how their custom item will appear before they actually order the item. And it could be applied to let the customer visualize everything from monogrammed apparel or towels to personalized mugs, custom tailoring, and more. “It can provide that unlimited number of combinations for someone to see before they hit the ‘buy’ button,” Mack says. “Without this technology, people have to guess what the items would look like.” making customization less powerful from a sales perspective.


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