Ah, Christmas cards! This is the only time of year I enjoy checking the mail. I love Christmas cards. I love sending them and I love receiving them. As a family, we would display these tiny festive works of art which became an additional Christmas decoration in our home.
I used to spend hours in the Hallmark store searching for just the right card to send. One that captured the joy of the holiday and reflected the unique character of my family. My mom used to have our names engraved inside because that seemed classier, while my stepmom preferred the personal touch of a handwritten signature, perhaps with a personal note.
But as I look upon the collection of cards we have received this year, I notice that none are from Hallmark – once the industry giant. In fact, very few are the kind you would buy in a store. The majority in my collection are from Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Minted – and no two are alike. They are all personalized with photos of the family including pets and grandchildren (no grandkids yet on our family card – boo hiss). And yes, some are personally signed from the sender. Not only do we display these cards, I keep them up all year in my welcome home valet as a wonderful glimpse of our family and friends.
Creating your own custom card, whether printed or electronic, is so simple these days and much more personal. Indeed, it is the perfect pandemic shopping experience – requiring no masks, driving, or standing six apart in line at the register. Like Starbucks, the Christmas card industry now thrives upon customization and personalization. Sure, they all start with a variety of templates from which you can choose. But after you insert your pictures, they become unique and special.
Customization and Personalization in Housing
Many in the homebuilding industry have capitalized on buyers’ desire to customize and personalize. It starts with picking the floor plan that bests suit their family’s need. This is followed with the elevation style that resonates with and reflects their personal style. Then come the colors, both interior and exterior. “I want the color scheme with the red front door.” or “We want the white kitchen cabinets and black granite countertops.”
If You Offer It, They Will Come
What about interior options? Would you like the gourmet kitchen package, wall ovens and separate cooktop?
In the owner’s bath, will you select the tub and shower or splurge on the oversized spa shower?
Perhaps there is a flex room that can be a den, dining room, or 4th bedroom. These are all custom choices that builders have been offering and buyers have been selecting to fit their needs.
Some builders have embraced the next level of customization. Elevate Homes has created “Elevate Rooms” where buyers can select a about pre-designed and priced options. Options that go beyond double doors on the den or selecting the wall ovens, but actually rooms. Would you like the Messy Kitchen or the Pocket Office? A Beverage Center or full-on wine tasting room? Elevate Homes, who caters to 55+ buyers, recognizes that their buyer profile is very experienced and opinionated. Many feel that after raising a family, this house is about them. They know what they want, it is up to the builder and designer to make it possible!
The ability to select and customize your home has been a common practice for many builders for years. But during the pandemic and lockdown, many buyers were able to preselect not only their floor plan, but all their interior options with interactive floor plans from the comfort of their home computers even before setting foot in the model. Yes, despite the big difference in price and delivery time, shopping for a home is becoming more and more like selecting your Christmas card. And for those who simply don’t have the time to wait for a house to be built, fear not! You will still be able to purchase preselected, designed, and built spec homes just like you can still buy Christmas cards in a store in a box.
Will builders choose the fate of Blockbuster, Kodak, or Hallmark? Will they embrace change or stubbornly ignore it? Change is always coming. You can resist, deny, and ignore change, or you can drive it. Let’s resolve to remain nimble as we charge into 2021!
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This post was written by Housing Design Matters