What to Say When: Influencing Consumer Choice by Delaying the Presentation of Favorable Information
Delaying the presentation of some favorable information about an alternative (e.g., a product, service, brand, store, or cause) until after consumers have completed their pre-choice screening can increase that alternative’s choice share. While such a delay reduces the alternative’s chance of surviving the screening, it can actually increase its probability of ultimately being chosen. Evidence from five experiments demonstrates this preference-enhancing effect of the delayed presentation of favorable information, and it illustrates the underlying preference dynamics across decision stages associated with such a delay. The findings also indicate that this preference-enhancing effect is driven by a combination of two mental mechanisms—a shift in the decision weights of attribute dimensions (rendering dimensions on which a delay occurs more influential across all alternatives) and an overall preference boost for the alternative about which information is delayed.
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