Renaud Teasdale, Co-founder, and CEO of MyCustomizer tells us about how to create outstanding product customization experiences.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Renaud Teasdale: Pretty good! We are all healthy. The offices are closed here in Quebec, so we have to work from home. It was a challenge to adjust at first, especially with two young kids, but we got to a point where we are comfortable with this new reality.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MyCustomizer.
Renaud Teasdale: I’ve discovered product customization’s huge potential from the inside while working at Warrior / New Balance. I’ve seen the manufacturing capabilities in Southeast Asia but also here in North America.
Yet, developing a product customizer from scratch can cost more than 100k and take several months. That’s why we have built MyCustomizer, to empower businesses of all sizes to create outstanding customization experiences.
How does MyCustomizer innovate?
Renaud Teasdale: Nobody in their right mind would build an eCommerce from scratch because there are great platforms out there like Shopify. Companies should not have to develop their own product customizers.
MyCustomizer allows merchants to design, set up, and manage outstanding product customizers in days, not months, without having to write a line of code, and for a fraction of the cost.
It’s fully integrated with Shopify and Prestashop. Merchants can install our app in a few clicks and get going.
But the best thing is probably that customers are willing to pay a 20% premium for custom products. And MyCustomizer improves the add-to-cart conversion rate and engagement time. It actually helps merchants to increase their profit margin and make more sales!
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Renaud Teasdale: It has not been a big issue for us because the eCommerce industry actually got a pretty good boost. Actually, the COVID-19 pandemic probably accelerated the shift to eCommerce by 5 years! This increase has allowed us to move forward on various projects, and we are obviously very happy about it. We can’t complain!
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Renaud Teasdale: We were able to keep all our team onboard and actually hire new employees. We were already used to working remotely a few days a week but not full time, so it took us a little bit of time to adjust. It even allowed us to review certain processes and improve internal communication. We realize that it is crucial to keep an open communication channel to remain efficient but also to maintain the human links at work.
We are a tight team that likes to hang out and have a good time at the office… play some ping pong, enjoy lunch together or have a drink, for example. Now, the chit-chat and jokes are happening on Slack, Discord, and Google Meet… which is better than nothing! But we are all looking forward to going back to the office, at least a few days a week.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Renaud Teasdale: Our customers are located all over the world. So that did not change at all. In terms of tools, I really like how Intercom makes it easy for our customers to ask questions or give us feedback.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Renaud Teasdale: A few programs by the governments of Quebec and Canada helped. One of them allowed us to invest in our employees’ training which will be beneficial in the long run.
Your final thoughts?
Renaud Teasdale: Ecommerce is accelerating because of this crisis, and it’s a good thing.
Did it really make sense to drive 30 minutes to get to a store just to buy a pair of shoes? You get to the store, and more often than not, they do not even have the exact product or sizing you were looking for. What do you do? You compromise and buy something you don’t really like, or you drive to another store! Yikes.
With eCommerce and product customization, the customer can tweak a product to his exact liking from the comfort of his home by selecting colors and materials, choosing components, sometimes even adding his name to it. From there, the brand manufactures the product and ships it to their door. Now that’s a better experience! It is better for the customer, better for the merchant, and even better for the environment because there’s no overproduction.
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