The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of option choice reversibility on the number of options chosen, total spending, and upset/regret from actions/inaction, using 124 Singaporean adults.
The experiment employs two levels of option choice reversibility: fully reversible without a penalty vs strictly irreversible. Participants add options to a base model or delete options from a full model and are either allowed or not allowed to change options in a condominium purchase scenario.
Compared to participants in the irreversible choice condition, those in the reversible choice select more options and end up with higher total spending. In the irreversible option choice condition, participants anticipate more upset (one aspect of regret) when they take actions than inaction, but in the reversible option choice condition, the reverse is true.
The study uses only one decision stimulus, which is a condominium purchase, and the purchase scenario might not be as realistic as an actual purchase decision.
Refunds and option change permission policies make consumers feel they can reverse their buying decisions, making them feel the decisions are less risky and thus inducing them to buy more than when no refunds or option change is allowed after purchase. To drive consumers to take actions, marketers should allow consumers to change their mind after making decisions and assure them of such policy.
The paper shows the effect of decision reversibility on the total spending (i.e. the total costs of choices made) and extends the theory about omission biases by demonstrating that regrets from actions/inaction depend on decision reversibility.
Pornpitakpan, C. (2010), "The effect of option choice reversibility on product option choices and regrets", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 545-553. https://doi.org/10.1108/13555851011090556Download as .RIS
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