The next big trend in product design
Brands up the ante by introducing product customization.
Earlier this year adidas unveiled Futurecraft 4D, a collection of running shoes with 3D-printed midsoles. In collaboration with Silicon Valley-based startup Carbon, adidas will employ “digital light synthesis” technology for its manufacturing process to create one-of-a-kind products for its customers. With Carbon’s CLIP technology, each midsole will be manufactured with a “flexible, fully breathable carbon copy of the athlete’s own footprint”, matching the exact profiles and pressure points of the wearer’s feet. 
adidas’s groundbreaking new venture embodies the brand’s stalwart commitment to creativity and innovation. “Gone are the days when it was necessary to prototype a product using a technology that does not allow for scale-up”. adidas intends to mass produce high-performance running shoes tailored to fit each customer’s needs.  By doing so, adidas is able to deliver the ultimate custom and personal user experience in accordance with each individual’s performance data.  Beyond its original use of materials and uniquely formulated production process, the Futurecraft 4D collection’s business value lies in its customization. adidas is capitalizing on the future of modern manufacturing: truly one-of-a-kind products at scale.
Nowadays, consumers ask for more than the expected utility of their products. Underlying cultural demands indicate that modern-day consumers want a stronger sense of ownership and control over their product, consequently establishing a deeper, more meaningful connection with the item and by extension, the associated brand. Such customer desires explains the rise in interest for product customization. However, to achieve it does not mean brands must create new manufacturing techniques with specialized factories and specific product materials. Customization at scale is readily available through digital integration in products. Brands like Spyder, Khongboon, DYNE, and adidas too have gone this route, implementing a number of IoT technologies to tailor and customize their products.
Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president for U.S. market development at MasterCard, affirms that “consumers across all age groups are more willing to spend on experiences rather than things, and are more interested in retailers who offer personal, custom, digital and social experiences.”  With the growing expectation of a custom experience, retailers are obligated to go a step further in designing products to resonate with customers.
In this new era of product design and custom UX, digital technology improves customer experiences and helps brands claim stake amongst a clutter of competitors. Consumers today are vastly connected and intertwined with their digital lives, creating an obvious interest for customized digital experiences. Thus, brands are turning to IoT to offer custom fit user experiences. Embedding any object with IoT technology allows customers to access unique digital content directly from their item to their smartphone through a web app. The more the user interacts, the more the experience adapts to the user’s behavior, becoming increasingly custom.
Every interaction and touchpoint opens doors for more customization, where data collected can be used to build hyper-relevant digital campaigns that better resonate with customers.
The success of products is increasingly reliant on customization. Customers are all unique; perhaps its time product experiences were too.