The Impact of Add-On Features on Consumer Product Evaluations

Posted: 14 Oct 2009 Last revised: 25 Jun 2010

See all articles by Marco Bertini

Marco Bertini

ESADE - Ramon Llull University

Elie Ofek

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Dan Ariely

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

The research presented in this paper provides evidence that add-on features sold to enhance a product can be more than just discretionary benefits. We argue that consumers draw inferences from the mere availability of add-ons, which in turn lead to significant changes in the perceived utility of the base good itself. Specifically, we propose that the improvements supplied by add-ons can be classified as either alignable or nonalignable and that they have opposing effects on evaluation. A set of four experiments with different product categories confirms this prediction. In addition, we show that the amount of product information available to consumers and expectations about product composition play important moderating roles. From a practical standpoint, these results highlight the need for firms to be mindful of the behavioral implications of making add-ons readily available in the marketplace.

Keywords: Add-Ons, product design, consumer inference, structural alignment, price discrimination

Suggested Citation

Bertini, Marco and Ofek, Elie and Ariely, Dan, The Impact of Add-On Features on Consumer Product Evaluations (June 1, 2009). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1487999

Marco Bertini (Contact Author)

ESADE - Ramon Llull University ( email )

Avinguda de la Torre Blanca, 59
Sant Cugat del Vall├Ęs, 08172
Spain

Elie Ofek

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6301 (Phone)
617-496-5853 (Fax)

Dan Ariely

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
(919) 381-4366 (Phone)

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