The purpose of this research is to examine consumers' perception of the difference between customised/modified products and brand stereotypes, and the extent of brand's impact on consumers' decisions to customise their purchases. Current literature is rife about the shift from the dominance of brands in directing consumer choice to the contemporary ascendancy of individualism reflected in customising products.
A structured questionnaire containing 23 variables relating to brand perception and customisation was administered to more than 500 random shoppers leaving two shopping centres in an Australian city during a two‐week period. Results were used to construct two econometric models aimed at predicting consumers' perception of the difference between customised/modified and brand stereotypes and the extent that consumers' decisions to customise their purchases were affected by brand names.
The results show that factors, other than the motive of and the satisfaction from customising the product, with a significant influence on the perceived difference between customised items and brand stereotypes, have little in common with factors that impel consumers to customise/modify their purchases based on the imagery of brands. A significant reason why consumers self‐engage with composing their product purchases is to satisfy their desire for quality and genuinely believe that their compositions are appreciably different from brand stereotypes thus vindicating the theory of self‐congruency. Indeed, there is evidence that the extent brands influence customers to tailor their purchases, depend on the stores from which consumers make their purchases.
The research did not ask questions on the extent of influence of brands on purchase behaviour of made‐to‐order products in relation to every specific durable product tested. These items conceivably have different buying protocols and therefore future research may want to consider a larger sample size with dedicated respondents for each type of item that was modified or customised. Meaningful comparisons can then be made across each of these items to identify the intrinsic and extrinsic product appeals of customised items that consumers may find more compelling than the pull of established stereotypes of brands.
Brand owners might consider setting up “virtual” stores that offer templates to adjust their stereotypes in order to accommodate specific styles and perspectives of customers.
In an era when individualism is getting increasing currency, this study aims to introduce service providers in the retail industry to how much of a role brands play in influencing the specifications of adjusted and customised products.
Mario J. Miranda and László Kónya (2007) "Customisation – moving customers away from the dull conformity of brand loyalty", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 449-467Download as .RIS
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