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EMAC 2021 Regional Conference

Plaid, Plus, or PDK? Naming Product Features in Car Configurators

Published: September 22, 2021


Johanna Hasenmaile-Aspin, Universität St.Gallen


mass customization systems; feature naming; consumer decision-making


Mass customization is omnipresent and enables consumers to easily customize products online. Thus far, little is known about how product features are named in such environments. In the automotive industry, they are becoming more sophisticated, more acronymic, and less descriptive. What is the impact on consumers’ decision-making? What might the managerial implications be? Along with a categorization of 1091 feature names of eight automotive manufacturers, insights from 26 qualitative consumer interviews, and two online studies, this paper outlines the qualities that feature names should comprise to be perceived as beneficial by consumers. The findings of this paper are particularly valuable for practitioners seeking to enhance the customer experience in mass customization systems.