Product uniqueness as a driver of customer utility in mass customization
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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