Customising gifts for oneself and others : the impact of anxiety and perceived design skill on customer value dimensions and the effect of complexity

Stiris, Celine Aurelie (2022) Customising gifts for oneself and others : the impact of anxiety and perceived design skill on customer value dimensions and the effect of complexity. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Purpose- In the past decade, product customisation has developed globally, across a wide range of product categories, particularly in the context of gifting. While customisation provides experiential benefits to consumers and increased opportunities for retailers, the trade-offs between the experiential benefits and the ‘costs’ of customisation are not well understood, especially in the context of gifting. This thesis investigates the relationship between perceived customisation complexity, anxiety and self-perceived design skill and their impact on the value provided by customisation in the context of gift- giving and self- gifting. The effect of these relationships on purchase intention of the customised gift is also examined. Design/methodology/approach- Using a real customisation webpage of a luxury brand, a scenario-based experiment was conducted involving two manipulations: the complexity of the customisation task (high complexity vs. low complexity) and the nature of the recipient: self-giving vs. gift giving. The data were collected via an online self-completion questionnaire administered via a reputed market research agency. Respondents were randomly allocated to the four experimental groups. The conceptual framework of the thesis was tested by using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) and ANOVA. Findings- Results show that self-perceived design skill decreases anxiety and has a positive effect on all value dimensions provided by the customisation experience, except uniqueness value. Apart from creative achievement value, all other value dimensions have a positive impact on the purchase intention of the customised bag. As for the negative aspects of gift customisation, the findings confirm that perceived complexity increases anxiety which in turns decreases the perceived value conferred by customisation. However, contrary to expectations, the nature of the recipient, self vs. other, does not affect the relationships hypothesised in the model. Originality/value- This thesis extends knowledge in the domains of consumer value, customisation and gifting. Firstly, by increasing our understanding of the dimensions of consumer value in the context of gift customisation, the study extends the application of Theory of Consumption Values relating to the values influencing consumer choice behaviour. Further, this research contributes to Benefit Theory by demonstrating that gift customisation offers not only functional benefits but also social and psychological benefits to consumers. Practical implications- This research is of value to managers willing to ensure an optimal gift customisation experience and increase online sales. The findings provide useful insights for companies for the development or adaptation of appropriate customisation programs to maximise the value consumers gain from gift customisation and decrease any anxiety they may experience. Keywords: Customisation; Consumer Value; Gift-Giving; Gift Customisation; Perceived Complexity; Perceived Anxiety; Self-Perceived Design Skill

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