Mass customization, in marketing, is the use of flexible computer aided manufacturing systems to customized the outputs of low unit cost, high output, production processes. It is claimed that these systems combine the low unit costs of mass production processes, with the flexibility of individual customization.
There are four types of mass customization:
- Collaborative customization - firms talk to customers one-on-one to determine the precise product offering that best serves the customers needs (see personalized marketing and personal marketing orientation) - this information is then used to specify and manufacture a product
- Adaptive customization - firms produce a standardized product, but this product is customizable in the hands of the end-user - the customers alter the product themselves
- Transparent customization - firms provide individual customers with unique products, without explicitly telling them that the products are customized - need to be able to accurately predict customer needs
- Cosmetic customization - firms produce a standardized physical product, but market it to different customers in unique ways.
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