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The impact of product assortment size and attribute quantity on information searches

The impact of product assortment size and attribute quantity on information searches PurposeThis paper aims to investigate the impact of assortment size and attribute quantity on the depth and content of consumer information searches.Design/methodology/approachFor a computer-aided experiment using an information display board, participants (n = 393) were placed in a simulated shopping situation that involved choosing a product among three sets of frequently purchased, low-involvement, FMCG alternatives.FindingsThe findings show that when the assortment size increases, consumers acquire information from more products and cues but sacrifice product attributes. In particular, this sacrifice comes at the expense of secondary product attributes (e.g. nutrition information, country of origin), whereas primary product attributes (e.g. brand name, price) remain constant. Attribute quantity does not have a significant effect on information search.Practical implicationsProvided that several strategies rely on providing more information to consumers with the aim of making more deliberate and better choices, the findings suggest that they may have a limited effect in product categories in which the assortment size is wide. The authors discuss the implications for category management and public policy.Originality/valueInformation searches are measured by means of three different variables (searched cues, searched products and searched attributes), which enable a more complex exploration of the consumer information search process. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Marketing Emerald Publishing

The impact of product assortment size and attribute quantity on information searches

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0736-3761
DOI
10.1108/JCM-10-2015-1594
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThis paper aims to investigate the impact of assortment size and attribute quantity on the depth and content of consumer information searches.Design/methodology/approachFor a computer-aided experiment using an information display board, participants (n = 393) were placed in a simulated shopping situation that involved choosing a product among three sets of frequently purchased, low-involvement, FMCG alternatives.FindingsThe findings show that when the assortment size increases, consumers acquire information from more products and cues but sacrifice product attributes. In particular, this sacrifice comes at the expense of secondary product attributes (e.g. nutrition information, country of origin), whereas primary product attributes (e.g. brand name, price) remain constant. Attribute quantity does not have a significant effect on information search.Practical implicationsProvided that several strategies rely on providing more information to consumers with the aim of making more deliberate and better choices, the findings suggest that they may have a limited effect in product categories in which the assortment size is wide. The authors discuss the implications for category management and public policy.Originality/valueInformation searches are measured by means of three different variables (searched cues, searched products and searched attributes), which enable a more complex exploration of the consumer information search process.

Journal

Journal of Consumer MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: May 8, 2017

References