Review of B2C Online Product Configurators

Sense Editor
August 30, 2012

ABSTRACT

While business to customer (B2C) mass customization has been discussed mainly from the producers’ perspective, researchers have reported a lack of sufficient literature examining the topic from customers’ perspective. This paper provides a review of configurators with user experience in mind. We first discuss terms such as: personalization, customization, optimization, design and innovation. We then use these terms to discuss definitions of configurators’ features such as: solution space, type of customers’ input, linearity, product visualization method and types of recommendations.

The features of two distinct sets of configurators are then reviewed: the first, of 50 specific configurators currently operating commercially; and the second of configurators which have been used for empirical experimentation. We find that while configurators operating commercially have a heterogeneous set of features, configurators subject to experimentation to date, by contrast, have relatively homogenous features. We conclude with an outline of features found in configurators available commercially, but not researched experimentally. We argue that those features demand empirical experimentation, since they are likely to influence customers’ satisfaction with the customization process, satisfaction with web interface, perceived customization complexity, perceived product utility, willingness to pay and intent to purchase.

Publication:
World Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization 2009