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Mass Customization excites both Researchers and Practitioners because of the possibility to produce customized products with mass production efficiency. Mass Customization - An Exploration of European Characteristics gives an overview on the need for personalisation from a customer perspective, analyses Mass Customization theories and assesses relevant best practices of European and International markets. The results of a survey among more than 500 European customers show a declining willingness of customers to compromise on the issue of suitability of products to their personal needs and preferences, the possibility for companies to break brand loyalty and the influence of immediate availability, delivery time and price to the customer's willingness to take part in the co-creation process.

Mass Customization has become important to business because of the difficulties of customers to find what they want despite an increase in product variety for many products over the past decades. The emergence of modern technologies in production and communication, however, allows companies to produce customized products without relinquishing economies of scale. With only few companies having taken this promising path, the authors believe that Mass Customization and Mass Customization related marketing strategies will play an essential role in the future and prompt both market leaders and their competitors to offer customization on a large scale for a vast variety of products.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Need for Personalisation

Abstract
Mass customization finds its roots in the basic human needs. As soon as mankind, or at least a part of it, has found a way to satisfy the basic physical needs, the attention has been redirected towards personalizing products in order to improve the personal utility of a product and to show personal status and power. However, only with the use of mass production and assembly line technology for personalisation purposes made personalised products available to a growing number of customers for a reasonable price. It is possible to offer customization at different stages of the manufacturing process: distribution, assembly, fabrication or design. According to the stage where it is introduced, the result and the difficulties faced for the effective implementation vary. Therefore, companies adopt different business models with different scopes when starting to insert a mass customization strategy in their production and products' offer.
Paolo Coletti, Thomas Aichner

Chapter 2. Mass Customization

Abstract
The lack of consensus about how mass customization is defined results in a number of disagreements: Is it applicable just to products or also to services, which monetary and time prerequisites need to be fulfilled and at which stage of the manufacturing process should customer preferences be integrated. These questions are answered in different ways by researchers, but most of them share the concept that price and time must be comparable to non customized goods in order to define the customization process of a company as mass customization. Moreover, it is evident that customer preferences should ideally be integrated in the entire design and production process, even though this is rarely the case in practice. With the advent of the WWW individual customer's preferences have become easier to know and to be integrated at least at the assembly stage of the product, thus making the production of the customized good possible at a cost similar to products produced in mass production. Production and delivery times, as well as participation of the customer in the product's design, still remains an open issue.
Paolo Coletti, Thomas Aichner

Chapter 3. Empirical Investigation

Abstract
A survey with more than 500 subjects is aimed to examine the desire of customers to customize different kinds of products. A trilingual questionnaire investigates the generic online buying preferences and, in detail, the personalization intention of the interviewed persons. The sample is well balanced with respect to sex and work activity, while slightly unbalanced towards the younger generations, which however represent the largest potential for a mass customization online business. The major results of the statistical analysis confirm the considerations of the previous chapters, indicating prices and availability as the main reasons for shopping online, and thus suggesting a price for customized products as close to the price of standardised products as possible. It also emphasizes the possible limit of delivery time, but shows at the same time that brand loyalty barriers can be broken in favour of personalization. While sex, being for sure a discriminating factor in Internet usage and online shopping, does not make any difference in personalisation's intention.
Paolo Coletti, Thomas Aichner

Chapter 4. Conclusions

Abstract
While the survey's results show a large potential interest in personalised products, other investigations demonstrate the current customers' dissatisfaction in finding products fitting their individual needs and preferences. Taking into account the importance of both price and delivery time, the role of stores has to be further investigated in order to find out how a company can build a working and profitable business model using mass customization.
Paolo Coletti, Thomas Aichner

Backmatter

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