Reasons for product standardization or adaptationThere are countless reasons for which firms standardize or adapt their product, but the bottom line is that, there is no firm that is at the extreme end of thespectrum of standardization and adaptation. This assertion is supported andevaluated by Gabrielsson (2004:41): “The standardization alternatives are aspectrum ranging from full standardization to an adaptive approach at differentlevels of marketing mix elements.
This part tries to pinpoint popular reasons forstandardization or adaptation. The paradigm of standardization and adaptation is seen differently from thefirms’ and consumers’ perspective in that, from a firm’s standpoint, it is oftencost effective and efficient to standardize products. Whereas from theconsumer’s standpoint a product should not be almost what he (the consumer)wants, but rather exactly hat he or she wants which actually brings to somedegree the idea of customization or individualization of products (Albaum et al2005:401). According to Albaum et al (2005:401):“Adaptation should bemandatory or voluntary’’. He further argued that, ‘mandatory adaptationwould be required because of such things as language differences, differingelectrical systems, differing measurement systems, product specifications andgovernment requirements.
Voluntary adaptation on the other hand is decided by the firm as to what tomodify and what variation should be made available for the target market”. Indeciding the form in which the product is to be marketed abroad Czinkota et al(2004:252) explained that there are three sets of factors to be considered namely(1) the market(s) that have been targeted, (2) the product and its characteristicsand (3) company characteristics, such as resources and policy”.
In most casesthere is the need to consider the advantages as well as the disadvantages of both the issue of standardization or adaptation with special emphasis on thecost involved especially in adapting a product beyond its required mandatorystandards (see also Czinkota et al 2004; Albaum et al 2005; Usunier and Lee2005). The table below gives overall points in factors encouragingstandardization as well as adaptation.