Help or Hinder? When Recommendation Signage Expands Consideration Sets and Heightens Decision Difficulty

Journal for Consumer Psychology, 23, 2 (2013) 165–174

10 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012 Last revised: 25 Apr 2018

See all articles by Joseph K. Goodman

Joseph K. Goodman

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Susan M. Broniarczyk

University of Texas at Austin - Marketing

Jill Griffin

University of Evansville - School of Business Administration

Leigh McAlister

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Marketing

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

This research examines whether recommendation signage helps or hinders the consumer when faced with choosing from large product assortments. In spite of frequent usage and retailer intuition suggesting that providing recommendation signs (e.g., “Best Seller,” “Award Winner”) should help consumers in the choice process, we propose that signs can hinder choice for consumers with more developed preferences by adding to the complexity and difficulty of the decision process. In three experiments using horizontally differentiated products in multiple categories, we provide evidence that recommendation signs create preference conflict for consumers with more developed preferences, leading these consumers to form larger consideration sets and ultimately experience more difficulty from the decision-making process. In addition, we show that these effects are mitigated for consumers with less developed preferences and when the choice is from a small assortment. The results suggest that recommendation signage may not be an effective tool for aiding choice from large assortments; instead signage can exacerbate the difficulties associated with having too many choices, with implications on purchase quantity.

Keywords: recommendations, choice expansion, choice overload, preference development, assortment, consideration sets

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Joseph K. and Broniarczyk, Susan M. and Griffin, Jill and McAlister, Leigh, Help or Hinder? When Recommendation Signage Expands Consideration Sets and Heightens Decision Difficulty (April 1, 2013). Journal for Consumer Psychology, 23, 2 (2013) 165–174, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2034434 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2034434

Joseph K. Goodman (Contact Author)

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University ( email )

Fisher Hall 542
2100 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

HOME PAGE: http://u.osu.edu/goodman/

Susan M. Broniarczyk

University of Texas at Austin - Marketing ( email )

2110 Speedway Stop B6700
McCombs School of Business
Austin, TX 78712-1275
United States

Jill Griffin

University of Evansville - School of Business Administration ( email )

1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, IN 47722
United States

Leigh McAlister

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Marketing ( email )

Austin, TX
United States

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