The Effects of Benefit and Feature-Based Assortment Structures on Similarity Perceptions and Strength of Preference

51 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2010

See all articles by Cait Poynor Lamberton

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pennsylvania

Kristin Diehl

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: May 18, 2010

Abstract

Retailers can structure their assortments in a nearly infinite number of ways. Our research studies the effects of two prevalent assortment structures – those which group items according to features and those which group items according to benefits. We show that relative to feature-based structures, benefit-based structures heighten perceptions of similarity among items in an assortment. These effects have important implications for consumers’ strength of preference: when choosing from benefit as opposed to feature-based structures consumers pick lower priced items and deem their top choices more similarly satisfying. We also identify assortment and consumer factors that moderate these effects: high correspondence of features to benefits in the underlying assortment and whether consumers hold a shopping goal which maps onto a benefit-based structure. Either situation will attenuate the effects of different assortment structures on perceived similarity and strength of preference.

Keywords: assortment structure, similarity perceptions, strength of preference, consumer goals, feature-benefit correlation

Suggested Citation

Lamberton, Cait Poynor and Diehl, Kristin, The Effects of Benefit and Feature-Based Assortment Structures on Similarity Perceptions and Strength of Preference (May 18, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1640105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1640105

Cait Poynor Lamberton (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Marketing Department
Philadelphia, PA
United States

Kristin Diehl

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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