IRS Ning Wang
Wednesday, 2 May 2018, 12:15, TIM Social Area
The design features of smart products for product- service customization and their influence on consumers perception and adoption of smart products
Contrary to the existing concept of utilizing online toolkits to customize products during the time of sale, a new class of smart products (made possible by recent digital technologies and the Internet of Things) allows product adaptation and change according to each individual’s needs in specific usage contexts through a new form of user-product interaction. This advanced ICT-enabled phenomenon offers many research opportunities. One of these fields is the users´ perceptions of the SP’s smartness, i.e. a potentially autonomous personalization enabled by a high level of autonomy and adaptability to provide autonomous and adaptive product- service customization without users’ dedication. While such an autonomous adaptation is convenient and reduces complexity for consumers (Rijsdijk and Jan Hultink 2009), consumers may perceive a loss of control and autonomy (Schweitzer and Van den Hende. 2016), which could negatively affect consumers’ intention to use smart products for customized experience and the utility of customized offerings. Research about how different design features or formats of smart products i.e. autonomous personalization or user self-customization, user control over smart product process and outcome etc., may lead to differences in perceived complexity and perceived empowerment and consumer satisfaction with customized offerings has received little attention. This paper tries to contribute to the literature on mass customization, smart product and user toolkits by introducing users control in smart product and user interaction and investigating smart products´ design features empowering consumers and their effect on consumers’ perception of empowerment (competence, control and autonomy), perception of complexity and consumers’ adoption intention of smart products for customized products/services. This paper employs conjoint experiment as research method to explore consumers tradeoff between perception of empowerment and complexity resulting from different design characteristics. This research is expected to provide insights into consumers decision making process when they handle different design features of smart products and provide designers with advice on the design of smart products for better satisfied customization process and results.