Advances in technology and manufacturing mean that consumers are more empowered than ever.

As a result, more and more retailers are finding ways to allow customers to customize products in ways never before possible.

Here are five examples of companies taking advantage of so-called 'creative commerce'.


Nike's NIKEiD service gives customers the ability to create their own shoes, apparel and accessories.

When it comes to shoes, the level of customization offered is significant.

Not only can customers choose the colors of the shoes and design elements on the shoe, in many cases they can change the material style and select a symbol for the tongue of the shoe.

And they have the option of adding personalized text to the heel of their shoes, making them a truly unique creation.

At times Nike capitalizes on events, like the retirement of NBA basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, and entices customers with the opportunity to customize limited-edition products.

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Most companies add customization to their product mix but Build-A-Bear Workshop is a brand that is built on customization.

The retailer, which has been in business for nearly 20 years now, invites customers and their children into its stores where they can let their imaginations run wild as they build their own stuffed toys.

Build-a-Bear Workshop is publicly traded and generated over $375m in revenue last year, proving that creative commerce isn't just fun for customers but also profitable when employed well.


Creative commerce isn't limited to products we wear or use. Case in point: BlendBee, which offers custom tea blends.

Customers select a base tea, up to eight ingredients, and a name for their blend, and BlendBee's "tea expert will create the best tasting tea from your ingredients."

Villy Custom

Creative entrepreneurs are finding ways to customize products that historically have been quite expensive.

Fleetwood, the founder of Villy Customs, created his company to allow customers to build their own "bad ass custom bikes."

Claiming to be the "digital online cruiser bike builder," Villy Custom appeared on the television program Shark Tank in the United States, where he raised investment from billionaire internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran.


True customization of large items, like furniture, is now accessible to everyday consumers through companies like FunkySofa.

It allows customers to design custom sofas, as well as sleepers, loveseats, chairs, sectionals and ottomans. 

With many of the pieces customers have literally hundreds of combinations to choose from.

Patricio Robles

Published 19 April, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

Simon Bell

Simon Bell, Managing Director at Diligent CommerceSmall Business

Interesting article Patricio and some great examples but ‘creative commerce’ isn’t simply about customisation?

“Creative’ is about creating a great first impression. It’s about ensuring an emotional connection with the potential customer. It’s about beautiful design and outstanding UX. About all, it’s about bringing a brand to life .. all in a ecommerce context.

Creative commerce is the concept around which Diligent was founded. At a time when most websites were (and still are) what I would call ‘cookie cutter’ templates, slavishly following the same conventions as everyone else, we try to create online the differentiated branded experience that brand strive to achieve offline.

That’s ‘creative’ too, surely?

about 2 years ago

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