Customizing products for self versus close others: the effect of intended recipient on creator perceptions of product uniqueness

Published on Mar 1, 2020in Marketing Letters
· DOI :10.1007/S11002-019-09510-X
Jiamin Yin (NUS: National University of Singapore), Yansu Wang (RUC: Renmin University of China)+ 1 AuthorsKanliang Wang (RUC: Renmin University of China)
Customers of mass customization websites measure the utility of the site by the uniqueness of the products they design, yet the factors influencing customizer perceptions of product uniqueness are underexplored. We examine the effect of the intended recipient (self vs. close others) in three studies involving real customization tasks. We show that creators (i.e., product customizers) perceive products designed for close others (vs. for themselves) to be more unique, with thoughtfulness in design as the mediator. This recipient effect is not found when third parties evaluate product uniqueness, suggesting that recipient identity does not influence design outcomes but merely creator perceptions of those outcomes. In the design-for-others context wherein creators are usually gift givers, gift recipients perceive designed products to be more unique than do the gift givers (i.e., creators), and these perceptions enhance the recipient’s feelings of appreciation via the mediating effect of the perceived thoughtfulness of gift givers. We close by discussing the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
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