Wild brainstorm on digital customization

On every blog, the author tells a story on a particular subject which is of his interest at the moment. During my research, this is also the case, for example this evening. This evening I was reading some articles on mass customization (Da Silveira et al., 2001; Franke and Piller, 2003). I read about levels of mass customization and success factors. As usual literature on mass customization addresses mainly physical products. Again I’m really stunned on the lack of research on customization for pure digital products. According to literature, the highest level of customization can be established during design of a product. For digital products, this should be not a problem because they have the physical characteristic of being transmutable, and therefore are extremely customizable (Choi et al., 1997). Then the success factors for mass customization which are stated in literature. These factors according to Da Silveira et al. (2001) are:

  • customer demand for variety and customization must exist
  • market conditions must be appropriate
  • value chain should be ready
  • technology must be available
  • products should be customizable
  • knowledge must be shared

Without illustrating every factor, it is clear that all these factors can apply for digital products on the Internet. Why is this not been addressed in literature so far, or why am I not aware of their existence? I have to admit, current research is moving in this direction by comparing services to goods. As for digital goods, services are also intangible. Da Silveira et al. (2001) made a comparison. Compared to manufactured goods, services:

  • are more labor-intensive
  • have greater customer involvement
  • are more sensitive to quality errors
  • have tighter delivery times
  • are unable to rely on inventories to adjust to demand fluctuations
  • are more dependent on information reliability

Again I think pure digital products are perfect for mass customization, because these differences address the success factors even better. Well, it makes my research even more interesting for myself, and I hope for some other people also. So far this wild brainstorm, back to work now.

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2 Responses to Wild brainstorm on digital customization

  1. ziv says:

    digital customization is a very interesting.
    I have done my thesis, in industrial design, on ways the
    industry could engage users in product design.
    customization is an intelligent and efficent way that could
    be used for a digital product much more easily as you mentioned.

    can you share with we some insights from your research?

    i would be happy to share some insights from my research.

  2. Bas Reus says:

    Sure ziv, one of my final posts on this blog has a link to the final thesis. Please share your insights on this blog or by e-mail. Regards, Bas.

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