How about creating something and having no idea how it will turn out?

The most prominent examples of value co-creation are lying in the apparel industry. Customization of clothes with creation of unique prints, colors, sized and textiles, as well as shoes with different design features are all familiar to the consumer. However, there are industries, on the other hand, where customization is just starting to create awareness.

One of such examples is the fragrance industry. It is pretty rare for the consumer to identify the fragrance with something he/she can alter or create him-/herself. However, there exist companies that do the perfume you would like, including the bottle of your choice as well as the inscription on the bottle and the size you want. The examples of such online companies include UniqueFragrance and Perfumelab. The former allows the customer to choose from predefined sets of characteristics of the perfume: whether it is for male or female, should it be sensual, glamorous or casual, then type of scent (ex. floral, oriental, natural, fresh) and finally it allows you to choose the set of ingredients suitable for the style of the smell and gender you have chosen. Each of the attribute is described in detail; however, this type of the choice can be seen as customization via starting solution. According to Hildebrand et at (2014), this type of customization diminishes customer decision making complexity which plays a vital role in value co-creation processes for consumers. Here on the picture you can see your final set of choices and the price for your product.


The other website, PerfumeLab, allows attribute-by-attribute selection process and a diagram that fills your imaginary bottle with ingredients of your choice. With no predefined starting solutions, creation of the perfume seems harder here. Moreover, it doesn’t offer additional benefits of bottle choice and inscription. Thus, as Hildebrand et al (2014) is noticing, it highly increases the commitment of the user has to product creation, effort he/she inputs as well as her ultimate satisfaction.


Although the aspect of creation of the perfume is challenged by inability of the consumer to assess the final product, the industry nevertheless has the potential of involving the consumer in the business model. An important aspect with such business model is the necessity to guarantee the attractiveness and high quality of the product. One of the ways to secure it is the ability to assure return of the money in case the product does not reach expectations. Unique Fragrance offers this option as well as having the second try of the perfume creation and return of the money if the second free try does not result in success.

The business based on the consumer product creation differs from the aspect of value co-creation. It implies the higher risk rate for the platform offering the attribute-by-attribute product creation. In this specific case of fragrance, the major risk can be diminished by offering money return policy and by implementing customization as starting solution approach, which will significantly improve the quality of the product and the blend of ingredients that customer chooses.



Hildebrand, C., Häubl, G. and Herrmann, A. (2014). Product Customization via Starting Solutions. Journal of Marketing Research, 51(6), pp.707-725.

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