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Showing a tree to sell the forest: The impact of attribute- and alternative-based information presentation on consumers’ choices

Author

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  • Pizzi, Gabriele
  • Scarpi, Daniele
  • Marzocchi, Gian Luca

Abstract

Consumers can be provided with information in either an attribute- or an alternative-based way. We consider the literature on information presentation through the theoretical lenses of the Construal Level Theory. We propose and find that providing product-related information in an attribute- rather than an alternative-based way shifts choices. The attribute-based pattern leads to high construal levels and choices driven by desirability-related, high-level attributes (e.g., design). But when the same information is acquired following the alternative-based pattern, it leads to low construal levels and choices driven by feasibility-related, low-level attributes (e.g., price). As a consequence, choice shares for products whose strength lies in convenience and other feasibility-related features are boosted by the presentation of alternative-based information. Conversely, choice shares for products whose strength lies in design and other desirability-related features are increased by the presentation of attribute-based information. We further find that consumers acquiring information in an alternative-based way envision consumption much closer in the future than those acquiring information in an attribute-based way. Finally, we find that attribute-based information leads to more clicking.

Suggested Citation

  • Pizzi, Gabriele & Scarpi, Daniele & Marzocchi, Gian Luca, 2014. "Showing a tree to sell the forest: The impact of attribute- and alternative-based information presentation on consumers’ choices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 41-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:42:y:2014:i:c:p:41-51
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2013.12.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
    2. Soman, Dilip, 2004. "The effect of time delay on multi-attribute choice," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 153-175, April.
    3. Strahilevitz, Michal & Myers, John G, 1998. "Donations to Charity as Purchase Incentives: How Well They Work May Depend on What You Are Trying to Sell," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 434-446, March.
    4. Bettman, James R & Luce, Mary Frances & Payne, John W, 1998. "Constructive Consumer Choice Processes," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 187-217, December.
    5. Leiser, David & Azar, Ofer H. & Hadar, Liat, 2008. "Psychological construal of economic behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 762-776, November.
    6. Susan Jung Grant & Alice M. Tybout, 2008. "The Effect of Temporal Frame on Information Considered in New Product Evaluation: The Role of Uncertainty," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(6), pages 897-913, February.
    7. Yeung-Jo Kim & Jongwon Park & Robert S. Wyer Jr., 2009. "Effects of Temporal Distance and Memory on Consumer Judgments," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(4), pages 634-645, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scheibehenne, Benjamin & von Helversen, Bettina & Rieskamp, Jörg, 2015. "Different strategies for evaluating consumer products: Attribute- and exemplar-based approaches compared," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 39-50.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information presentation; Construal-level; Consumer choice; Attribute-based information; Alternative-based information;

    JEL classification:

    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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