Many consumers purchase multi-functional products according to their individual preferences. Consumers are normally aware of their basic needs, but often have no idea of product types, functions, usage and terminology showing important information. This paper presents a method to translate customer needs into applicable alternative combinations for the products of customers' desire. In this research, the theory of the analytic hierarchy process is utilized to evaluate the importance of customer needs, which are generally rated and described by qualitative expressions. A fuzzy inference model is employed to establish the relationship between customer needs and alternatives for a multi-functional product. Then a fuzzy synthetic distance method is used to perform optimal searching for possible alternative combinations in the product. Based on the above-mentioned methods and associated algorithms, a consultative interface is setup on the Internet for a case study to demonstrate effectiveness. Although a baby stroller is taken as an example in this study, this method can also be used on other products.
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