People have always treasured the ability to acquire, from the producer, products that have been made with them in mind. Others have also had a desire to be able to own things that have uniqueness in themselves. Products that do not sell anywhere else! This has created a lot of competition in the fashion industry and producers have been left with no alternative but to be innovative as to how they can serve this need for their customers. In this paper, we look at the various ways that producers have involved their consumers in the past to ensure that the product produced serves the customers’ needs (Umberson, Kinley, and Crutsinger, 2009).
Customization and design
Design is the process of creating a plan of how a product if going to look like when it is complete. It involves the entire process of decision making and all the ideas are more or less made by the producer depending on the market. Customization is the involvement of the consumer in decision making during processing or finishing process so that the customer gets an individualized touch. Customization is therefore the involvement of the consumer in the designing of a product. It adopts the specifications of consumers and makes them co-designers (Umberson, Kinley, and Crutsinger, 2009).
Customization differs from design in several ways. First, in design, the consumer chooses from the finished products while the consumer participates in the creation process of a customized product. Second, unlike in design, the consumer of customized product gets the option of getting a unique product. Finally, the customer of a customized product gives useful information about himself or herself which may serve the producer to contact them and even know exactly what to offer them in future. Customization and design, however, resemble each other in that the producer may opt to use the customized product as a design for a standardized version or design to be marketed in the future. In this way, the customer will only have participated in the company’s design process (Evelegh, 2012).
Uniqueness of a manufactured product
A manufactured product cannot be truly unique. It lacks the individualization aspect of uniqueness that a consumer desires. The customer may even not fit on the standardization scale of the producer. Even worse, the consumer only gets to choose from a limited number of sets. A manufactured product also fails to involve the consumer in the process of creation. This way, the manufactured product fails to meet the criteria of uniqueness. The manufactured product is also not made with any particular customer in mind. Instead, many generic versions of the product are made to reach as many customers as possible (Pine, 1993).
Perception of uniqueness
Perception is vital in acceptability of a product as unique. This means that a consumer will be happier to accept the product as unique if the chance of getting a similar one elsewhere is slim. In that case, it would be advisable for sellers of customized products to avoid reselling the customized product in areas where they have it labeled as customized. This can be done through collecting consumer information and using it to control destinations of their products. A consumer who buys a customized product will definitely feel cheated if he later finds the ‘customized’ product in the market (Umberson, Kinley, and Crutsinger, 2009).
conclusion, consumers have a desire to be able to participate in the
development of their products. They also want to be served with unique
products. These products are regarded highly if owned and a consumer would feel
cheated if they found the same products in their markets. The wise producer
should, therefore, ensure that the consumer who purchases a customized product
feels that it is customized by making sure they do not flood their market with
it. Companies with intentions of increasing their market share should be
willing to invest in mass customization.
Evelegh, T. (2012). Sewing made simple from sewing box to sewing machine: Fashion and furnishing techniques explained. London: Jacqui Small
Pine, J. (1993). Mass Customization: The new frontier in Business Competition
Umberson, K., Kinley, T. R., and Crutsinger, C. A. (2009). Sustainable Fashion: Desire for uniqueness.
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