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Product uniqueness as a driver of customer utility in mass customization

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  • Nikolaus Franke

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  • Martin Schreier

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    Abstract

    Mass customization (MC) constitutes a promising strategy for companies which aim to provide products which are better adapted to individual customers’ aesthetic and functional preferences. Drawing on commodity theory, we argue that the perceived uniqueness of a self-designed product is a second driver of utility in MC. We find that in addition to the significant effect of aesthetic and functional fit, the perceived uniqueness of a self-designed product (1) contributes independently to the utility a customer experiences, and (2) that this effect is moderated by the consumer’s need for uniqueness. In product categories which can serve this counterconformity motive for consumers, this suggests that MC toolkits should be constructed with the objective of facilitating the creation of unique products as well as providing affirmative feedback that this uniqueness has been achieved. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11002-007-9029-7
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Marketing Letters.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 93-107

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:mktlet:v:19:y:2008:i:2:p:93-107

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100312

    Related research

    Keywords: Mass customization; Self-design; Co-creation; Uniqueness; Willingness to pay;

    References

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    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
    2. Rothkopf, Michael H & Teisberg, Thomas J & Kahn, Edward P, 1990. "Why Are Vickrey Auctions Rare?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 94-109, February.
    3. Simonson, Itamar & Nowlis, Stephen M, 2000. " The Role of Explanations and Need for Uniqueness in Consumer Decision Making: Unconventional Choices Based on Reasons," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 49-68, June.
    4. Von Hippel, Eric A. & Katz, Ralph, 2002. "Shifting Innovation to Users Via Toolkits," Working papers 4232-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Noussair, Charles & Robin, Stephane & Ruffieux, Bernard, 2004. "Revealing consumers' willingness-to-pay: A comparison of the BDM mechanism and the Vickrey auction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 725-741, December.
    6. McAlister, Leigh & Pessemier, Edgar, 1982. " Variety Seeking Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Review," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(3), pages 311-22, December.
    7. Belk, Russell W & Wallendorf, Melanie & Sherry, John F, Jr, 1989. " The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-38, June.
    8. Simonson, Itamar & Nowlis, Stephen M., 2000. "The Role of Explanations and Need for Uniqueness in Consumer Decision Making: Unconventional Choices Based on Reasons," Research Papers 1610, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mazodier, Marc & Merunka, Dwight, 2014. "Beyond brand attitude: Individual drivers of purchase for symbolic cobranded products," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(7), pages 1552-1558.
    2. Oksana Loginova & X. Henry Wang, 2009. "Customization: Ideal Varieties, Product Uniqueness and Price Competition," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(4), pages 2573-2581.
    3. Wong, Hartanto & Lesmono, Dharma, 2013. "On the evaluation of product customization strategies in a vertically differentiated market," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 105-117.
    4. Frances Turner & Aurelie Merle & Pauline Fatien Diochon, 2011. "How to Assess and Increase the Value of a Co-Design Experience: a Synthesis of the Extant Literature," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00649498, HAL.
    5. Fogliatto, Flavio S. & da Silveira, Giovani J.C. & Borenstein, Denis, 2012. "The mass customization decade: An updated review of the literature," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 14-25.

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