The Effects of Benefit and Feature-Based Assortment Structures on Similarity Perceptions and Strength of Preference
51 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 18, 2010
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: Suggested Citation