Personalization and customization are often mistaken to imply the same thing. It is true that there are some similarities between personalization and customization but they are not identical. Both demands changes to the standard protocol or system, the product or service in question. But the manner in which these changes are brought about and what those changes are supposed to do will be considerably different.

Technically, personalization is a set of changes that a service provider or product developer offers to make the solution more usable and friendly for the consumer or customer. Customization is a set of changes that the user, consumer or client makes on his or her own but allowed and facilitated by the service provider or product developer.

Let us take a popular website, the biggest global marketplace Amazon as an example to talk about the difference between personalization and customization.

  • When you shop on Amazon, you can search for any product in any category and get a list of options. You can check out these products, look for more products and keep searching. As you initiate the searches and keep going, you would get prompts. There will be products lined up next to your search results that will be related to the product you have searched for. Then there will be prompts showcasing products that you have searched for before or what you may have liked and purchased in the past. These steps are taken by Amazon at the coding level. The algorithm makes changes based on your browsing or search history, past purchases and your present searches. There are also prompts based on what is selling like hot cakes right now and other updates based on real time analyses. These constitute personalization done by Amazon.
  • Customization pertains to all the changes you would be making on your own. When you search for a product and get numerous results, you can filter these results using the various parameters, from brand names to ratings, price to features and more. These filtering options, the various changes you can make to your profile, how you use the entire site and how you use every feature that can be tweaked or altered would be a part of customization. The site or the service provider has to facilitate these changes but it is the consumer, client or user who chooses to make the changes. That’s customization. In contrast, personalization is initiated and controlled by the service provider.

However, there are many more differences between the two, from a clients and developer point of you. If a provider is creating an app for you, what do you ask? If you ask for it to be customised, then provider needs to go back and change some technical bits (don’t ask what in specific, I am not a tech person). However, if you as a client ask for the app to be personalised, you simply adding or introducing parts to make it more like your brand. It’s almost more cosmetic than technical.

Do I make sense? Do you agree?

 

 

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