"When people come up with post-mortems about the dot-com crash, they point to bad planning, mismanagement and other big-picture explanations about the way people approach the Web. All of that might be true, but they are missing the important story one level down -- that the promise of customization has been a near-complete bust. Many people don't really want it, and companies have a hard time doing it."
-- Peter S. Fader.
Peter Fader was one of my profs at UPenn. A smart guy, and he always calls 'em like he sees 'em. He was also never afraid of a good argument. So ...
He makes the claim that the personalization and customization of online products and services is really not all that special and, to date, hasn't shown much promise. Ask the folks at Yahoo! about personalization. Ask ebay. Ask any bank with online services about personalization. (Are there any banks left that don't offer completely personalized online services?) Try a few travel sites out and see just how personal they get ... right down to the seat number and vegetarian meal.
He also singles out Dell and make the claim that they really aren't personalizing things.
"Build to order is overhyped. Everyone points to Dell, but Dell isn't customizing all that much. The vast majority of computers they sell are standard configurations that are not personalized in any way."
Hmmm ... Ok, so when *I* decide to upgrade the monitor and memory on my new Dell laptop and decide to have it shipped FedEx, this is not personalized? I'm sure they could monogram the thing for me, too ... Maybe that would help convince him. Sorry about that last one professor, but I couldn't resist.
Why people don't buy jeans online
Special to CNET News.com
Ever since the Internet emerged as a sales channel in the 1990s, it has been thought that one of the chief advantages of e-commerce would be its ability to facilitate the customization of goods and services for consumers.
That promise, however, is not yet close to being realized, according to experts at Wharton and Forrester Research, an e-commerce research firm. E-commerce sites continue their struggle to find ways to provide shopping experiences that matter to buyers. Customization is sometimes hard to pull off because of cumbersome manufacturing processes; at other times, shoppers simply do not yearn for products or services tailor-made for them.
Thursday, April 04, 2002