IRS Christian Weller
Thursday, 17 April 2014, 4pm, TIM Social Area
Perceived Value for Co-Designed Products with 3D Printing
Recently, it has been highlighted that additive manufacturing (AM) or colloquially “3D printing” potentially sparks a new industrial revolution. In particular, AM offers benefits in flexibly producing highly customized products at no cost penalties in manufacturing because neither tools nor molds are required. Although scholars have comprehensively investigated technological aspects of AM, economic discussions remain scarce. Trying to bring the current media hype surrounding AM down to an analytical level, the goal of this study is to assess AM’s technological benefit of costless customization as a source of value creation for firms. This is why consumers were asked how they value three different degrees of product co-design freedom in an experiment that simulates an online buying process for espresso cups, while each consumer was randomly shown two of the three scenarios. The scenario with the highest level of product co-design freedom is eventually enabled by AM. In this scenario, consumers could continuously adjust a product’s design. The other scenarios were represented by a modular approach to product co-design and a conventional assortment choice. Based on feedback of more than 360 consumers, this empirical study underlines (1) the perceived value of higher product co-design freedom enabled by AM, and (2) the importance of showing the buying scenarios in the right sequence in order to maximize consumers’ willingness to pay.