Whereas in the past the customer experience only began with the purchase, nowadays it starts the first time the potential buyer thinks about the product - and this has far-reaching consequences for manufacturers, retailers and customers alike. One company that puts this to good use is mymuesli. Over the past ten years the Passau-based start-up has evolved into an internationally recognised brand with its "mix your own muesli" options. While mymuesli focuses on customisation, for outdoor wear specialist Gore it is the functionality of the product that takes centre stage: for tomorrow’s all-weather jackets they have brought in extreme athletes and climate experts to their development teams. "We used to see consumers as our target audience, but now we consider them to be part of the creative process," explains Gore innovations expert Birgit Schaldecker.
Different as the implementation on the product level may be, the basic premise remains the same: who knows better what the customer wants than the customer themselves? Which is why more and more consumers are putting together their own muesli combinations, voting online on the latest burger variations someone has dreamt up and having heated debates on company forums about the perfect fit for nappies. These products are being created in collaboration with their potential consumers - and this is bringing about sweeping changes to our understanding of the customer experience.