Mizuno takes the axe to custom orders
Mizuno’s Easy Order System for the Morelia II has always been the pinnacle of getting a Morelia. The ability to not only have your name on your boots but to also get a cross-stitch pattern or a short tongue or even your favourite number put on the heel of your boots was something many people who wore Mizuno would strive for. It was a favourite among many Mizuno die-hards and I, as well as many others, have ordered a custom pair of Morelias at one point or another. Unfortunately, as of the 30th of last month, Mizuno ended the Easy Order System.
Although I haven’t directly heard the exact reasons why Mizuno decided to end the Morelia custom order system, it isn’t difficult to speculate. Firstly, the most obvious reason is that if it was popular enough, Mizuno wouldn’t have ended it. They could directly see how many pairs of boots were bought via the Easy Order System versus regular sales of the Morelia II. Certainly, a custom order of boots will never beat the retail models in terms of sales, but if the gap is too big, it wouldn’t be worth doing the custom orders anymore.
Secondly, there is the fact that many stores in Japan not only offered the Morelia Easy Order System for their customers, but often carried many of the variants of the Morelia that was offered through the custom order system in store. Add that to the fact that many stores also offer their own name and numbering for boots, then it becomes obvious to see that customers would prefer just to get whichever variant of the Morelia they wanted and to just get name and number in store. If they did that, they wouldn’t have to wait the 25 days for their custom Morelias to come in. It was much more convenient for customers to buy whatever they wanted at their local store. This further lessened the reasons for customers to use the Morelia Easy Order System.
The next point is a little more hypothetical and less certain but many brands in the industry are looking to cut costs in certain ways. One of the best ways to do this is to cut back on the product lines available to customers. Any easy way to accomplish this is to stop offering is custom orders for regular customers. This allows the company to have less “leftovers” on custom product that was not ordered. What often happens with custom ordering is that company will make a certain amount of footwear in advance and do customization on the product when the order is received. If the custom orders are less than normal, than the company can be left with stock it can’t sell at regular prices. This is why you might occasionally see custom product wind up at outlet stores.
By eliminating the Morelia Easy Order System, Mizuno minimized the risk they took with premade product. This also frees up the space that such products might be taking up on warehouses and the like. It also allows the company to cut some costs without eliminating a product silo that is popular with customers, not that Mizuno would ever get rid of the Morelia. In doing this, Mizuno also frees up materials for regular Morelias and other products, which again cuts cost because Mizuno will no longer have to make that extra amount of product nor buy more materials. Such cost-cutting is quite important for a company like Mizuno so that they may continue to succeed.
Another reason why it is possible that Mizuno decided to do this is because almost 50% of Mizuno’s sales occur just in Japan. Given that the Morelia Easy Order System was only offered in Japan, though there were a few ways to order through it if you lived overseas, by eliminating the custom order system, Mizuno has managed to decrease costs in its single biggest market. Any brand would jump at the chance to eliminate a decent sized amount of costs in their biggest market without really ceding ground to competition. The fact Mizuno was the only Japanese-based brand that offered custom ordered football boots in Japan meant that Mizuno could take such a step without as much worry. There is also the chance that Mizuno could do limited-run custom orders in the future, as they have done occasionally with running shoes.
Despite this, more than a few people were unhappy when it was announced that Mizuno would be getting rid of the custom order system. It wasn’t exactly cheap to order from the Easy Order System, with some variants costing up to 27,000 yen, but when you ordered from it, price tended to be less of a concern. After all, Mizuno was custom-making you your own shoe in it’s Japan-based factory. This wasn’t like Nike in which any factory could do the NikeID work. It’s Mizuno, and having your boots get the same treatment as the professionals made the boots more special in many people’s eyes. When ordering a custom pair, you knew that some of the best makers of football boots in the world were making your boots. It’s like when someone orders an exclusive car and gets it personalized. For me, it is the absolute elite of the football boot world.
Although I am sad that Mizuno discontinued the Morelia Easy Order System, I can’t say I disagree with Mizuno’s decision to do so. This is because I want the company to be able to continue to make awesome product and if the requires the elimination of custom orders to do so, then fine by me. It often seems that many people only ordered through the system once and afterwards would just order a normal Morelia or one of the custom variants that stores would offer. From this viewpoint, it again becomes easy to understand why Mizuno would take this approach. This further allowed for the elimination of SKUs, since every variant had its own style number. The elimination of SKUs also allows it to become easier to transition into a new design and style. One could suppose that this means Mizuno may also be gearing up for an overhaul of the Morelia II. It has been 4 years since the last time the Morelia was upgraded and tweaked so I imagine it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we will see an update to the Morelia in the near future.
But I want to know what you guys think. Do you agree with Mizuno’s decision to eliminate the Morelia Easy Order System? Let me know in the comments!
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