Tag Archives: online

Minted, where great designs come from


 “Could crowd-sourcing design build an e-commerce company that stayed in tune with its consumer audience forever?”- Mariam Naficy, founder of Minted

Minted was launched in 2007 after the owner Mariam Naficy got intrigued by the idea that there was hidden creative talent around the world whose work was not accessible to consumers and that the Internet could help surface. Minted started with a save-the-date card design challenge in 2008 and the company has been expanding ever since. Nowadays Minted is an online marketplace platform of independent artists located in Jackson Square, San Francisco. The marketplace offers a portfolio of four different product lines namely: stationery, fine art prints, home decor and wedding decor. (Minted, 2017)

 “Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.” – Minted

According to Minted, great design lives and thrives in the hands of independent artists that people do not have access to through traditional retailers. Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses. (Minted, 2017)

To give you an idea, the video below shortly shows an example of holiday cards.

How it works

The value generation lies within the hands of Minted’s customers and artists for several reasons. First, Minted continuously organizes open design challenges for independent artists from all over the word. The idea behind these challenges it that every artist, upcoming or experienced, is able to submit his or her ideas (Customer Value Proposition). These design challenges take place within every product line and next to Minted, consumers can also request for a design within a challenge. Second, within these challenges, customers vote on the design submissions and thereby deciding the winning designs (key resource and process). These winning designs are then taken into production and sold on the Minted marketplace (profit formula). By using crowdsourcing for physical design purposes, Minted applies a co-creator model (Chui et al., 2016; Johnson et al., 2008 Minted, 2017)

In addition, their crowdsource initiatives go even further. Minted’s community supports the personal development, creativity, and careers of independent artists in the world. Minted’s community currently exist of independent artists that are located in all 50 states of the US and more than 60 countries. For artists, Minted builds their brands and connect them with other artists. Within the community, artists are able to express themselves in a unique way and learn from critiques of other artists and talented peers (Customer Value Proposition). (Johnson et al., 2008; Minted, 2017)

Efficiency criteria

With the current structure of the challenges and Community, artists, customers as well as Minted benefit from it in distinctive ways. As you will see, this business model results in joint profitability for all parties. Within the platform, every artist is able to get exposure to the world and can thereby grow its own name. Artist of the winning submissions even receive a portion of every sale, and they earn a store where they can launch and sell designs using the Minted fulfillment platform with no need to manufacture, ship, or provide customer service. Customers vote and can thereby give direction to which designs they would like to see for sale (i.e. efficiency benefit). Finally yet importantly, Minted benefits from all the votes and uploaded ideas because it gives them certainty that they produce the most desired furniture.

MADE.com also satisfies the feasibility of required reallocations criteria.  First, the polity is not directly involved. Second, terms and conditions regarding what is allows and what not need to be accepted by stakeholders before contesting a challenge and creating an account on Minted. In addition, they only take 50% of the customer payment at the time that the customer accepts the project proposal. Remainder is retained by customer until the final artwork is approved and Minted does not remit the final payment to the artist until the delivery of the artwork is confirmed. Thereby ensuring for safe payments. (Minted, 2017)

To answer the question that started it all: YES, Minted shows that with crowd-sourcing design you can build an e-commerce company and stay in tune with its consumer audience forever.

References
Chui, C., Liang, T. & Turban, E. (2016) What can crowdsourcing do for decision support?. Journal of Decision Support Systems, 65: 40-49

Johnson, M.W., Christensen, C.M. & Kagermann, H. (2008). Reinventing your business model. Harvard Business Review, 86(12): 50-59

Minted (2017). From https://www.minted.com/about-us. Assessed at 07-03-2017

Personalized Online Adverstising Effectiveness: The Interplay of What, When, and Wher


If you go to any website, or online store specifically, your behaviour is tracked. Landing page, time spent, clicks, exit page: you name it, it is tracked. But even when you leave a page, a company does not really leave you: they saw what you clicked on, and based on your browsing behaviour, they retarget you: they show you a (sometimes personalized) advertisement on another channel, hoping you will come back and purchase the product you viewed.

Retargeting can either be done during or after a website visit, and is done based on a customer’s visit. When showing personalized recommendations, for example, it is important to take into account the quality of the recommendation, the level of personalization and the timing. This is what Bleier & Eisenbeiss (2015) looked at: what should they show, when should they show it, and where should they show it.

As with any academic article, past literature is analysed and hypothesis are developed. In order to test the what, when and where of personalized online advertising effectiveness, Bleier & Eisenbeiss conduct two large-scale field experiments and two lab-experiments. The first field experiment looked at the interplay of degree of content personalization(DCP), state, and the time that has passed since the last online store visit, at a large fashion and sports goods retailer, who carries over 30000 products. The second field experiment, conducted at the same retailer, looked at the interplay of placement and personalization. Based on the results from these two field experiments, two lab experiments were designed: one focussing on web browsing in an experiential model, the other focussing on goal-direct web browsing.
Within this paper, thus, many things are studied and confirmed. The papers shows the importance of how to determine the effectiveness of online personalization’s, and which one works best when. When a customer sees a personalized ad right after his/her website visit, the ad becomes more effective. This is mainly because preferences are not constant: they can over time. Thus if you liked a shirt 5 minutes ago, you will mostly still like it now. Thus if a company is able to directly respond to a consumer’s behaviour, the CTR is expected to be higher.

While the effectiveness of recommendations decreases over time, the level of personalization plays a moderating role. This means that high-level personalization in later stages of the decision making process have lower effectiveness, because of changes in customers tastes’ and preferences. The personalized ad is therefore not applicable anymore. Thus, the more personalized an ad, the sooner after a website visit it should be sent. Moderate personalized ads are thus more effective over time, as they take into account these changes in preferences. As visual recommendations are often highly personalized, these type of recommendations are more relevant shortly after a visit. Cross-sell recommendation, which is a more moderate recommendation type, performs better later in time

So what does this all mean? When retargeting customers and showing them personalized ads, it is important to keep in mind how long ago they visited a website. Given that this research was performed at a large fashion/sports retailer, it would be interesting to see whether the same conclusions hold for other settings. What do you think? And when do you consider (personalized) ads target to you most effective?


Bleier, A., & Eisenbeiss, M. (2015). Personalized Online Adverstising Effectiveness: The Interplay of What, When, and Where. Marketing Science, 669-688.