Customization May Be an Asset Before Its Time

Apr 03, 2002

Customization of goods and services for consumers online, one of the chief advantages of e-commerce, is not yet close to being realized, according to experts at Wharton and Forrester Research.

“When people come up with post mortems about the dot-com crash, they point to bad planning, mismanagement and other big-picture explanations about the way people approach the web,” says marketing professor Peter S. Fader of the Wharton School of Business. “All of that might be true, but they are missing the important story one level down — that the promise of customization has been a near-complete bust. Many people don’t really want it and companies have a hard time doing it.”

The promise of customization may only be realized when a new generation of shoppers increases its presence online. “It’s not clear how and when companies will get it right, but there is a new generation of shoppers on the horizon. Even when they grow up, today’s high-tech children will fully expect to get exactly what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.”

Moderator Comment: Do consumers really want customization
or are they content with off-the-rack?

Amazon’s personalization is nice. We have to admit, however,
that we are content to buy jeans online just the way we do in the store: off-the-rack.
Anderson – Moderator

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