Consumer Response to Aesthetic Mass Customization
33 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 16, 2012
Although recent research has explored consumers’ reactions towards mass customization (MC) in general, these studies have considered aesthetic and functional MC as one and the same. In the present article, we focus specifically on consumer response to aesthetic MC because there are some unique factors that influence this type of MC. Providing insights in these factors can help firms in order to more successfully implement aesthetic MC strategies in products. In our research, hypothetical MC configurators were presented to respondents. The configurators were varied and allowed for different extents of aesthetic MC. In addition, the visibility of the mass-customized product elements to others was manipulated. Our findings suggest that customizing a product’s aesthetic features enhances its self-expressive value, which on its turn positively affects consumers’ evaluations of MC and the behavioural intentions (e.g., purchase intention). Furthermore, a greater extent of aesthetic MC increases the perceived complexity of the MC task, which negatively affects evaluation. Finally, visibility of the mass-customized product elements to others enhances the self-expressive value of aesthetically customized products. The article concludes with the implications of these findings for firms interested in pursuing MC strategies.
Keywords: mass customization, product design, eesthetics, self-identity
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