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3 ways to add value to mugs (and other personalized products…)

Christoph Clermont

How can you turn a simple mug into a high-margin product? Here are a few suggestions. Use unique product innovations for upselling. Charge more for premium designs with additional layout options. Increase customer involvement through a captivating configuration experience. Find out more and check out our configuration sample for a beautiful photo mug.

Drinkware remains one of the strongest segments in the ever-growing market for personalized gifts, a market that grew by about 20% in 2020 alone. One of the main drivers of this growth is actually the huge spread of smartphones with high-quality cameras. More smartphones mean more photos and more photos mean more consumers who are looking for ways to use their photos for something, not just in the digital sphere but also in the physical world.

Selling photo mugs is for sure an easy way to take advantage of these market dynamics. But it also comes with a handicap, and that´s massive competition and pressure on prices. A mug that is sold for $3.99 will hardly cover the purchasing price. But what about a mug for $16.99 or more?

Personalized photo mugs

This is how a configuration experience for photo mugs can look like. Users can separately design the front and back of the mug. They find options to use plain photos or have them embedded in a beautiful design with multiple advanced text features, stickers and more.
Try out photo mug sample

Upselling through outstanding product ideas

Vendors have found that even a product as simple as a mug offers many opportunities for upselling. Innovative product ideas are one of the best ways to increase value, and the possibilities are almost endless. Take for example partner mugs, a set of two mugs each with a photo of one partner, pet mugs with the photo of the customer’s beloved companion and a fitting design, seasonal mugs for all sorts of holidays or individual anniversaries.

Going beyond photos there are even “magic” mugs that change their designs according to the drink´s temperature just like a chameleon. Using so-called avatars on a mug is another exciting way to create value and increase involvement at the same time. These are drawn characters that can be individualized in multiple ways by the customers to match the look of themselves or a friend.

Adding intriguing layout options

Another effective method that helps to ease price pressure is to give customers the option for premium designs. Refined layout possibilities including additional colors, variable text, filters and effects for photos, or a larger printed area will instantly add to the value and seduce buyers to spend more. The purchase process can even be split in two separate parts: One that includes only a few basic design choices and an additional “expert” mode for advanced layout possibilities at extra cost.

Of course, all this requires a solution that allows for smooth online configuration. And there´s more. You will also need a solution that is able to track all the additional layout options customers use and deliver that information to your web shop so you will be able to invoice them.

Mug configured online

A slick configuration experience

Smart vendors know that there´s a simple psychological effect: To make users stay on the shop you need to keep them constantly involved. And there are two especially effective ways that come into play when selling personalized products. First of all, the first few clicks must deliver! That means even during the initial steps the result always has to look good. With an instant sense of achievement during the configuration process, users are inclined to do more and use additional possibilities.

Another factor is to make it especially easy for customers to play around and try out various designs. One example is the separate editing of certain design elements such as stickers or frames for their photos. Dragging the buyer deeper and deeper into the design experience will not only make them stay longer. Ultimately, it strongly increases the likelihood that they finally purchase their very personal piece of art.

Samples included: The sample template you can try out on this page is also part of the Printess license. You may use it as a basis to develop your own products, or as an inspiration for your designers.

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