Personalized vitamins? Sneakers that tell you how to run better? T-shirts that request help if you collapse while running?\nWelcome to the future where products both help and watch out for you.\nHow are such products designed? How can thousands of products be personalized?\nHow do such hybrid products impact the bottom line and improve customer retention?\nDesigning the next big hit\nConsumer goods have changed. The old approach of mass production is changing to mass personalization. Discrete products are provided in the form of services instead. When you do that, customer loyalty and retention improves.\nHow does this new approach work? What are the best practices?\n1. Don\u2019t sell it. Offer a subscription.\n\u201cSelect one of our great blades, and we\u2019ll send \u2019em right to your door every month. Your first month is free, just cover $1 shipping. Cancel Anytime.\u201d\nThe Dollar Shave Club pioneered selling blades as a subscription service delivered to your home rather than something you bought at a store. The service launched with an engaging video and soon had thousands of customers. Their low distribution costs and a recurring revenue stream was a huge business success. Unilever recently bought the Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion.\nMake it painless to try and subscribe.\n2. Make it personal.Mini Cooper lets you customize your car before it\u2019s even built. You pick the color, exterior, wheels, audio and accessories. This level of customization has made the Mini incredibly popular. Mini dealers save by having to keep fewer cars in inventory. Customers love designing their own cars.\nPersonalize every customer\u2019s experience.\n3. Convenience rules.Zappos offers \u201cfree, fast shipping of orders without any order minimums.\u201d They offer a huge selection in shoes in terms of brands, styles, colors, sizes and widths. They provide excellent customer service. Amazon acquired them for $1.2 billion.\nMake purchasing and returns convenient.\n4. Layer value-added services.The Google Nest shows how an offering merges both a physical product and an online service.\n\u201cNest Labs is a home automation producer of programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems. Soon it\u2019ll learn what you like and set the temperature on its own. Senses when your home is empty and turns itself down automatically so you don\u2019t heat or cool an empty home.\u201d\nUse analytics and AI to enhance customer value.\nIoT-based personalization\nConnected products never really leave the factory. They're always in touch with the manufacturer. The customer experience is continually updated with readings from sensors in the product. The service can be enhanced further with personalized suggestions that are prepared analyzing sensor data and customer preferences. Let's take a look at three consumer services to see how it's done.\nSTYR Labs offers personalized health supplements\nSTYR Labs offers health and fitness consumers customized nutritional products as a service. Purchasing vitamins from a drugstore is converted into an ongoing, personalized relationship.\n\nSTYR Labs collects data from an activity tracker, wireless scale and smart bottle. Their patent-pending technology within the app collects an array of meaningful data, including motion patterns, behavioral inputs, environmental data, location and nutritional preferences. This information is cross-referenced with the customer's lifestyle and activity traits. This data is used to custom-formulate personalized multivitamins and protein blends for each user. STYR health supplement are home delivered.\nThe STYR Multivitamin Starter Kit includes an activity tracker and 15 vitamin packets. The Protein Starter Kit includes a wireless scale and protein packets. Refill packets are offered as a subscription service.\n\u201cConsumers need a way to optimize performance by converting fitness and nutritional data into health products that impact their goals,\u201d said Paul Mackay, chief operating officer of STYR Labs. \u201cWe believe natural single-serve supplements that are personalized to you are what the body needs to fuel a healthy lifestyle change or improve athletic performance.\u201d\nRun better wearing Boltt smart shoes\nOnce you\u2019ve had your vitamins, it\u2019s time to exercise.\nBoltt improves workouts. It uses "smart" shoes fitted with health bands to collect details on customers\u2019 health and workout patterns. Garmin sensors in its shoes track real-time speed, distance and cadence.\n\nThe Boltt Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine analyzes this information. Customized workout suggestions are delivered through a mobile app.\n"The Boltt shoe improves workouts," explained Boltt CEO\u00a0Arnav Kishore. "We're starting with a few sensors and form factors. We plan to innovate, beyond sport tracking and analysis to other wearable forms as well\u201d.\nHealth monitoring to go from Sensoria\nYou\u2019ve had your vitamins and gone for a run. What\u2019s next?\nSensoria\u00a0provides heart rate monitoring sport bras and T-shirts that connect to Sensoria\u2019s mobile app for real-time feedback.\n\nSensoria's new Run v2.0 Beta app will eventually include a \u00a0feature called Heart Sentinel. \u00a0Heart Sentinel was developed by a cardiologist to monitor pulse rates and detect any heart irregularities.\nIf heart irregularities are detected, Heart Sentinel alerts the runner of possible trouble and starts a brief countdown to determine if the user is still conscious. If no response is received from the runner, an alert is sent with the runner\u2019s GPS coordinates. This alert is sent to contacts pre-selected by the runner so that they can call for medical help. \u00a0\nNow that you\u2019ve had your personalized vitamins, finished a customized run and made sure you didn\u2019t collapse, you\u2019re probably ready for a rest. Kidding aside, it\u2019s worth considering how to transform your product into an ongoing relationship with your customers.