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3D

Mass Customization and the Model T Cliché

Overuse of a phrase or expression demotes it linguistically to cliché status. Sometimes the once descriptively powerful devolves into triteness. Familiarity breeds contempt, itself a cliché, captures the effect.

Such is the fate of a popular comparison: mass customization of personalized products vs mass production of the all-black Ford Model T. Search the terms together to see how often it’s been used. Even some Twitter users poked fun at the rampant use earlier this year.

Interactive Customization Goes Brick and Mortar

Stroll into Foot Locker’s store in New York’s Times Square and you can’t miss the bright red kiosk. Built around large interactive video screens, the kiosk invites shoppers to customize and then buy an iconic running shoe, the New Balance 574, before their personalized design is manufactured.

Via the touch screens, a potential buyer can choose from myriad color choices for various shoe components, different materials, and add text such as a name. A design can be zoomed in for an up-close inspection and turned 360 degrees before ordering. The kiosk includes physical samples of the shoes’ various parts, from thread and laces to leather and mesh swatches.