Mass Customization

DEFINITION of 'Mass Customization'

The process of delivering wide-market goods and services that are modified to satisfy a specific customer need. Mass customization is a marketing and manufacturing technique that combines the flexibility and personalization of "custom-made" with the low unit costs associated with mass production. Many applications of mass customization include software-based product configurations that allow end-users to add and/or change certain functionalities of a core product. Sometimes called "made to order" or "built to order."

BREAKING DOWN 'Mass Customization'

B. Joseph Pine II's 1992 book "Mass Customization: The New Frontier In Business Competition" describes four types of mass customization:

1. Collaborative Customization - where companies work in partnership with individual customers to develop precise product offerings to best suit each customer's needs.

2. Adaptive Customization - where companies produce standardized products that are customizable by the end-user.

3. Transparent Customization - where companies provide unique products to individual customers without overtly stating the products are customized.

4. Cosmetic Customization - where companies produce standardized products but market the products in different ways to various customers.

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