Product-Line Design in the Presence of Consumers’ Anticipated Regret
Zou, Tianxin, Bo Zhou, and Baojun Jiang. "Product-Line Design in the Presence of Consumers' Anticipated Regret." Management Science, Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019 Last revised: 18 Mar 2020
Date Written: August 18, 2019
Consumers are often uncertain about their valuations for product quality when choosing among different products and will learn their valuations only after buying and using a product. Some consumers may thus experience over-purchase or under-purchase regret, depending on whether they have purchased a higher or lower quality level than what they would have chosen had they known their true valuations. When consumers anticipate their potential post-purchase regret, their purchase decisions may be affected. Our analysis shows that over-purchase regret lowers the firm’s profit, but under-purchase regret can benefit the firm if consumers’ over-purchase regret is not strong. When the firm optimally designs its product line, the quality difference between its offerings will be larger (smaller) if consumers’ anticipated regret increases (reduces) its profit. Surprisingly, although anticipated regret tends to reduce consumers’ utility, in equilibrium, the presence of anticipated regret can increase consumers’ expected surplus. We further examine when the firm should allow consumers to return their products by paying a restocking fee, and how the optimal restocking fee will change with consumers’ propensities for the two types of regret. We also experimentally show that consumers’ propensities of under-purchase and over-purchase regret are different and can be influenced by the firm’s messages.
Keywords: anticipated regret, product line design, quality, behavioral economics, price discrimination, product return
JEL Classification: C70, D4, D9
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation