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Enhancing the consumer-perceived benefits of a mass-customized product through its online sales configurator

Enhancing the consumer-perceived benefits of a mass-customized product through its online sales... PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to focus on online sales configurators (SCs), also known as mass-customization toolkits, which enable consumers to self-customize their product solutions online. The paper aims to provide new insights into which characteristics of an online SC increase the consumer-perceived benefits of possessing a mass-customized product.Design/methodology/approachPrevious studies on mass customization (MC), sales configuration, and learning psychology are used to develop the research hypotheses, which are tested by analyzing data from 675 configuration experiences from a convenience sample of potential consumers using 31 real online SCs for laptops/notebooks, economy cars, and sport shoes/sneakers.FindingsThe paper finds support for the hypotheses that SCs with higher flexible-navigation, focused-navigation, and easy-comparison capabilities enhance not only the traditionally considered utilitarian benefit (UT), but also the consumer-perceived uniqueness benefit (UN) and self-expressiveness (SE) benefit (SE). Furthermore, consistent with the study’s hypotheses, SCs with higher benefit-cost communication and user-friendly product-space description capabilities are found to improve UT. The hypotheses that these two capabilities enhance UN and SE, however, are not supported. Post-hoc analyses suggest that the examined SCs are generally UT-centered and need improvement of their ability to communicate the UN and the SE a consumer could derive from the purchase of his/her configured product.Originality/valueWhile prior research has primarily been concerned with conceptually arguing and empirically showing that uniqueness and self-expressiveness are two additional sources of consumer value in business-to-consumer MC, this is the first empirical study that offers insights into which characteristics online SCs should have in order to draw from these two value sources. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Industrial Management & Data Systems Emerald Publishing

Enhancing the consumer-perceived benefits of a mass-customized product through its online sales configurator

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0263-5577
DOI
10.1108/IMDS-05-2016-0185
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to focus on online sales configurators (SCs), also known as mass-customization toolkits, which enable consumers to self-customize their product solutions online. The paper aims to provide new insights into which characteristics of an online SC increase the consumer-perceived benefits of possessing a mass-customized product.Design/methodology/approachPrevious studies on mass customization (MC), sales configuration, and learning psychology are used to develop the research hypotheses, which are tested by analyzing data from 675 configuration experiences from a convenience sample of potential consumers using 31 real online SCs for laptops/notebooks, economy cars, and sport shoes/sneakers.FindingsThe paper finds support for the hypotheses that SCs with higher flexible-navigation, focused-navigation, and easy-comparison capabilities enhance not only the traditionally considered utilitarian benefit (UT), but also the consumer-perceived uniqueness benefit (UN) and self-expressiveness (SE) benefit (SE). Furthermore, consistent with the study’s hypotheses, SCs with higher benefit-cost communication and user-friendly product-space description capabilities are found to improve UT. The hypotheses that these two capabilities enhance UN and SE, however, are not supported. Post-hoc analyses suggest that the examined SCs are generally UT-centered and need improvement of their ability to communicate the UN and the SE a consumer could derive from the purchase of his/her configured product.Originality/valueWhile prior research has primarily been concerned with conceptually arguing and empirically showing that uniqueness and self-expressiveness are two additional sources of consumer value in business-to-consumer MC, this is the first empirical study that offers insights into which characteristics online SCs should have in order to draw from these two value sources.

Journal

Industrial Management & Data SystemsEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 10, 2017

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