The Effects of Presentation Formats and Task Complexity on Online Consumers’ Product Understanding
MIS Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3,pp. 475-500, 2007
45 Pages Posted: 7 May 2009
Date Written: May 7, 2007
This study assesses and compares four product presentation formats currently used online, i.e. static pictures, videos without narration, videos with narration, and virtual product experience (VPE), where consumers are able to virtually feel, touch, and try product. The effects of the four presentation formats on consumers’ product understanding as well as the moderating role of the complexity of product understanding tasks were examined in a laboratory experiment.
Two constructs used to measure product understanding performance are: actual product knowledge and perceived website diagnosticity (i.e. the extent to which consumers believe a website is helpful for them to understand products). The experimental results show: 1) both videos and VPE lead to higher perceived website diagnosticity than static pictures; 2) under a moderate task complexity condition, VPE and videos lead to the same level of actual product knowledge, but all are more effective than static pictures; 3) under a high task complexity condition, all the four presentations are equally effective in terms of actual product knowledge. Moreover, results also indicate that it is perceived website diagnosticity, but not actual product knowledge that affects the perceived usefulness of websites, which further influences consumers’ intentions to revisit the websites.
Keywords: Product presentation, task complexity, virtual product experience, product understanding, e-commerce
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