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Retail Choice Architecture: The Effects of Benefit- and Attribute-Based Assortment Organization on Consumer Perceptions and Choice

19 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2014  

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business

Kristin Diehl

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

This article explores the effects of two distinct retail choice architectures — those that organize assortments by attributes and those that organize items by benefits. Relative to attribute-based organizations, benefit-based organizations lead to more abstract construal and heighten similarity perceptions among items in an assortment. Such changes in similarity perceptions alter consumers’ strength of preference among items: when choosing from benefit- as opposed to attribute-based organizations, consumers select lower-priced items and are more similarly satisfied with their top choice as with a lower-ranked option. Further, consumers’ internal shopping objectives and orientations cued by the external organization may interact in ways that heighten similarity perceptions. Results suggest that abstract construal cues, regardless of whether they arise internally or externally, may dominate concrete cues in the type of shopping context under consideration.

Keywords: assortment, marketing, consumer behavior, attribute, benefit, construal-level, choice

JEL Classification: M3, M31

Suggested Citation

Lamberton, Cait Poynor and Diehl, Kristin, Retail Choice Architecture: The Effects of Benefit- and Attribute-Based Assortment Organization on Consumer Perceptions and Choice (October 2013). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 40, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2383257

Cait Poynor Lamberton (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business ( email )

Marketing Department
364 Mervis Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
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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