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Competitive Effects of Mass Customization

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  • Loginova Oksana

    () (University of Missouri - Columbia)

Abstract

The existing theoretical literature on mass customization maintains that customization reduces product differentiation and intensifies price competition. In contrast, operations management studies argue that customization serves primarily to differentiate a company from its competitors. Interactive involvement of the customer in product design creates an affective relationship with the firm, relaxing price competition. This paper provides a model that incorporates consumer involvement to explain the phenomena described in the operations management literature.Two firms on the Hotelling line compete for a continuum of consumers with heterogeneous brand preferences. An exogenously given fraction of consumers is potentially interested in customization. Consumer benefits from customization are the rewards from a special shopping experience and the value of product customization (a better fitting product); these benefits are higher for consumers located closer to the customizing brand. When a consumer purchases a customized product, he/she incurs waiting costs. Each firm simultaneously decides whether to offer standard products, customized products, or both, and then engage in price competition. I show that customization increases product differentiation, leading to less intense price competition. Depending on the parameter values, in equilibrium either both firms offer customized products, one firm offers customized products and the other standard and customized products, or one firm offers customized products and the other standard products. I perform comparative statics analysis with respect to the fraction of consumers interested in customization, the waiting costs, and the fixed cost of customization.

Suggested Citation

  • Loginova Oksana, 2012. "Competitive Effects of Mass Customization," Review of Marketing Science, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:revmkt:v:10:y:2012:i:1:n:3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neeraj Arora & Xavier Dreze & Anindya Ghose & James Hess & Raghuram Iyengar & Bing Jing & Yogesh Joshi & V. Kumar & Nicholas Lurie & Scott Neslin & S. Sajeesh & Meng Su & Niladri Syam & Jacquelyn Thom, 2008. "Putting one-to-one marketing to work: Personalization, customization, and choice," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321, December.
    2. Victor Tremblay & Stephen Polasky, 2002. "Advertising with Subjective Horizontal and Vertical Product Differentiation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 20(3), pages 253-265, May.
    3. Oksana Loginova & X. Henry Wang, 2011. "Customization with Vertically Differentiated Products," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 475-515, June.
    4. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    5. Rajiv Dewan & Bing Jing & Abraham Seidmann, 2003. "Product Customization and Price Competition on the Internet," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(8), pages 1055-1070, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ajay Bhaskarabhatla, 2016. "The Moderating Role of Submarket Dynamics on the Product Customization–Firm Survival Relationship," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(4), pages 1049-1064, August.

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