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Bookabuy offers personalised portraits to customers

Australian book subscription service, Bookabuy, has taken the concept of personalisation in retail to a new level, with the launch of free illustrated portraits for customers.

Under the ‘We love to imagine’ illustration series, Bookabuy commissions an artist to create bespoke illustrations of customers based on information they provide with their online orders.

The company has commissioned three customer illustrations so far, and after receiving positive customer feedback, it has decided to make the service a permanent offering. Bookabuy will choose a new customer to receive a personalised portrait every couple of months at no cost to the customer.

According to Bookabuy co-founder Mel Tantchev, the idea for the portraits came out of the company’s close relationship with its customers, who share personal details with each order. The subscription service uses the information to guide its book selections, but it saw an opportunity to do more.

“We were really touched by the level of detail our customers provided with each order; sometimes they’re so descriptive it’s as though we can picture what they might look like in real life. This inspired us to create something a little bit different – a bespoke illustration of how we see them,” Tantchev said.

“Even though we’re an online business and never meet our customers face to face, there’s something deeply personal about choosing someone’s reading material for them. Thanks to their detailed orders we’re getting to know our customers better than we ever expected, so this is just a little thank you for being so involved and helping to grow our business.”

While personalisation in retail is often seen as a way to drive sales, the Bookabuy portraits don’t have a commercial focus. “There’s no cost involved – it’s just something fun we’re doing as we build our community and get to know our customers better,” fellow co-founder Chris Tantchev said.

“The first illustration we did completely cold – we had no idea what the customer (Kimberly) looked like. But she said it was an uncanny likeness, which was great because it could have missed the mark completely! For the two most recent illustrations the customers are quite active on Instagram, so we had the luxury of being aware of their physical features. For the next one, we will probably do another blind illustration,” he said.

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