This paper aims to investigate the impact of assortment size and attribute quantity on the depth and content of consumer information searches.
For a computer-aided experiment using an information display board, participants (n = 393) were placed in a simulated shopping situation that involved choosing a product among three sets of frequently purchased, low-involvement, FMCG alternatives.
The findings show that when the assortment size increases, consumers acquire information from more products and cues but sacrifice product attributes. In particular, this sacrifice comes at the expense of secondary product attributes (e.g. nutrition information, country of origin), whereas primary product attributes (e.g. brand name, price) remain constant. Attribute quantity does not have a significant effect on information search.
Provided that several strategies rely on providing more information to consumers with the aim of making more deliberate and better choices, the findings suggest that they may have a limited effect in product categories in which the assortment size is wide. The authors discuss the implications for category management and public policy.
Information searches are measured by means of three different variables (searched cues, searched products and searched attributes), which enable a more complex exploration of the consumer information search process.
Dörnyei, K.R., Krystallis, A. and Chrysochou, P. (2017), "The impact of product assortment size and attribute quantity on information searches", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 191-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-10-2015-1594
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