From quality to quantity: The role of common features in consumer preference
Although previous studies of consumer choice have found that common features of alternatives are cancelled and that choices are based only on unique features, a recent study has suggested that common features are canceled only when they are irrelevant in regard to all unique features. The present study hypothesized that the role of a common feature in consumer choice depends on its quantity as well as its quality. Experiments 1 and 2 tested this hypothesis and the equate-to-differentiate account by varying the quality and the quantity of common features. Experiment 3 examined the cognitive process that was proposed to serve as the mechanism for the common feature effect using eye-tracking methodology. This study provided further insight into conditions when the cancellation-and-focus model applies. Study results revealed an attribute-based tradeoff process underlying multiple-attribute decision making, and suggested an avenue through which marketers might influence consumer choices.
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