Today I googled mass customization (well, mass customisation) in the UK - and found nothing. Now, I might not be the most versed googler and also didn't spend too much time on it, but how can there be no examples of mass customization in the UK? I even shouted it out on twitter (I tweet about mass customization with my @papillonc account), - no examples! I could not find one mass customization company from the UK. We know that mymuesli.de has a UK website, but that's it. Please let me know if you know of any!
Funny enough, I found the abstract to a research paper, comparing mass customization (-customisation) in the UK vs. Turkey (why Turkey?), and the finding was this: "A large proportion of customers from both countries would be willing to pay extra to own a product which exactly meets their needs and preferences. However, more respondents in the Turkish sample were willing to do so than in the UK sample." So it's not that the UK consumers abhor mass customization (although the Turkish clearly are more trendy in this regard), but why do entrepreneurs ignore it?
Which of course makes me think of US vs. Germany. I see a lot of mass customization in the US in the fields of fashion and food, and while fashion seems to be more of an American stronghold, a lot of the food mass customization startups have someone German, or at least German-speaking, on their founding team. Checking mass customization directories like egoo.de or milkorsugar further confirms that there are more food mass customization startups in Germany than in the US, including notable US companies like elementbars, [me] & goji or mixmygranola.com who I was fortunate to meet last week.
A few days ago, an Austrian business student interviewed me on the topic of mass customization for her bachelor thesis, and one question she asked was how I expect mass customization to evolve in the future. Now, I'm no Professor Pine or Professor Piller, but I'm obviously betting my personal future on it. I think that we will see lots of growth in mass customization - many products are not available yet in a customized format. Many existing examples of mass customization are not sold in every country yet. And sooner or later, there will be competition in each niche - see the two cereal companies mentioned above in the US market. Then, I expect larger companies to jump on the train - maybe not as efficiently as the startups in the beginning, but soon on a much bigger scale. Which reminds me - have I told you yet about Hershey's opening a "create-your-own" attraction in their amusement park "Chocolate World" in Hershey, PA? They've been on our site a lot (Google Analytics knows everything), so we're flattered! I can't wait to go when it opens in the summer.
We, chocri, have been received in the US with open arms, and are as thrilled as you about our expansion. That for us is a sign that mass customization is ready to spread to more countries. What do you think?