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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Krisztina Rita Dörnyei, Athanasios Krystallis and Polymeros Chrysochou

This paper aims to investigate the impact of assortment size and attribute quantity on the depth and content of consumer information searches.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the impact of assortment size and attribute quantity on the depth and content of consumer information searches.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2011

Maureen Morrin, Susan Broniarczyk and J. Jeffrey Inman

This paper seeks to promote an understanding of gender effects on retirement plan participation as a function of fund assortment size.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to promote an understanding of gender effects on retirement plan participation as a function of fund assortment size.

Design/methodology/approach

A decision simulation was conducted among 349 US adults whose task was to invest in a hypothetical 401(k) retirement plan. The number of mutual funds offered for investment was varied and the effects on the incidence and extent of participation observed.

Findings

The results indicate that larger fund assortments tend to reduce participation among women, but increase it among men.

Research limitations/implications

Replication in other contexts and with other data sets would be worthwhile.

Practical implications

To enhance retirement plan adoption/participation, financial service firms may want to tailor such plans according to gender (and other consumer characteristics) according to the present set of findings.

Originality/value

First time authors are aware that the interaction between gender and assortment size is examined.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Chunyu Li, Yongfu He, Ling Peng and Denghua Yuan

Recently, the popularity of store brands has resulted in some manufacturer brands being removed from shelves. The current literature lacks empirical work on the effect of…

Abstract

Purpose

Recently, the popularity of store brands has resulted in some manufacturer brands being removed from shelves. The current literature lacks empirical work on the effect of manufacturer brand erosion on consumer assortment perception and repatronage intention. Based on signalling theory, the purpose of this paper is to manufacturer brands play a signalling role and contend that manufacturer brand erosion has detrimental effects on the assortment perception due to reduced signalling efficacy.

Design/methodology/approach

A 3 (low manufacturer brand erosion vs high manufacturer brand erosion vs manufacturer brand dominance) ×2 (assortment size: small vs large) between-subject experiment was conducted.

Findings

Manufacturer brand erosion exerts a negative effect on assortment attractiveness and consumers’ repatronage intention; the greater the erosion, the larger the negative effect. These negative effects are mediated by reduced consumer perceptions of assortment quality and variety. A large (vs small) assortment size attenuates the negative effect of manufacturer brand erosion by improving perceived assortment quality.

Practical implications

To engage in strategic positioning through efficient assortment management, retailers should cooperate with brand manufacturers, instead of promoting their own private labels. Nevertheless, a large assortment dominated by store brands signals that the retailer has built a strong private brand, which in turn gains a differentiation advantage.

Originality/value

This paper is among the first to take the signalling perspective and explicitly investigate whether and how manufacturer brand erosion exerts a significant impact on assortment perception.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Abdelmajid Amine and Sandrine Cadenat

This research shows that to reach their prime goal of building an efficient assortment, retailers need, beside increasing the outlet’s cost‐efficiency, to evaluate…

Abstract

This research shows that to reach their prime goal of building an efficient assortment, retailers need, beside increasing the outlet’s cost‐efficiency, to evaluate shoppers’ assortment perceptions so that what the store actually offers can be tailored to meet customers’ needs and expectations. Our findings reveal that consumers’ perceptions of the assortment range stems from the combination of few indicators, mainly the number of stock‐keeping units proposed and the availability of the favorite brands. Also demonstrates that consumers evaluation of the overall store assortment draws on the perceived choice within the product categories where they are highly sensitive to the assortment range.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 31 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

José Luis Ruiz-Real, Juan Carlos Gázquez-Abad, Irene Esteban-Millat and Francisco J. Martínez-López

The purpose of this paper is to analyze consumers’ reaction to assortment composition.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze consumers’ reaction to assortment composition.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines several scenarios: private label (PL)-only assortments; mixed assortments (PL and national brands (NBs)), and in the latter case both small and large assortments. Consumers’ reaction is measured through three dependent variables: store image, PL purchase intention and store-switching intentions. The authors ran a structural equation model (SEM) to analyze the influence of different explanatory aspects (product category involvement, attitude toward PL, value consciousness and assortment variety perception) on consumers’ reactions for each scenario. For this research, the authors carried out an online experiment with a sample of 1,400 individuals from a large panel of consumers.

Findings

Consumers react differently to different assortment compositions, giving importance to the differences between the three assortment models analyzed. The results show that the composition of the assortment, either according to its size or its structure, influences consumers’ response in a significant way. The results demonstrate that store image exclusively affects PL purchase intention in PL-only assortments. Only in mixed assortments is there a relationship between the assortment variety perception and store image, product category involvement and PL purchase intention, and both store image and value consciousness are related to store-switching intentions. Store-switching intentions decrease when consumers intend to purchase PL, but strictly in PL-only and large mixed assortments. Finally, value consciousness and variety perception are positively related to PL purchase intentions only in large mixed assortments.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of this research is that it is restricted to the Spanish context. Second, the methodology is based on an online experiment, with the advantages and disadvantages that this entails. Third, the authors did not differentiate between high- and low-value PL which, if undertaken, could be of interest for observing how brand value affects the management of retail assortments. Finally, the authors did not differentiate regular buyers at these retail chains from those who are not.

Practical implications

The comparison between different assortment compositions helps the authors to draw some very interesting conclusions. The estimation of different consumers’ responses is ideal for providing retailers with recommendations on how to frame their assortment strategies. Thus, the main recommendation of this study for retailers is to look for a “balance” between PL and NBs, i.e., to offer mixed assortments.

Originality/value

Aside from mixed assortments, this study estimates the consequences of assortments that are exclusively PL. The authors proposed and deployed a SEM, so this paper contributes to the retailing field by including multiple dependent variables – store image, PL purchase intention and store-switching intentions. The authors conducted an online experiment containing “real” brands, which is another contribution as it enables consumers’ response to be estimated in a “real” environment.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 45 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Book part
Publication date: 13 June 2013

Barbara E. Kahn, Evan Weingarten and Claudia Townsend

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the connection between actual variety (the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs)) and amount of useable variety that the…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the connection between actual variety (the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs)) and amount of useable variety that the consumer perceives. The optimal combination for a retailer is to offer an assortment that maximizes the perceived assortment variety while minimizing the perceived inter-item complexity. Both measures are a function of the actual variety offered in an assortment but other factors such as attribute structure of the individual items, assortment organization, and individual differences can alter the way the actual variety is perceived.Design/methodology/approach – The main methodology used in the chapter is a comprehensive, critical literature review of the empirical research on the topic.Findings – We find that while assortments with a large number of SKUs are desirable for attracting consumers to the category, too large assortments can result in consumer frustration and confusion. On the other hand, when assortments are small, the perceived variety or attention to the category may be limited.Value/originality – Our review shows ways a retailer can adapt to these challenges. First, we show that assortments are viewed in stages. In the first stage, high perceptions of variety are beneficial. When assortments are small, increasing perceived variety can be accomplished by increasing the number of subcategories within the assortment, adding in packaging cues, or using other emotional affective descriptors to further define options within the assortment. In the second or choice stage, too much variety can increase perceived complexity. Perceived complexity at this stage can be reduced by simplifying the complexity of the individual items within the assortment by increasing alignability of attributes, using a simplifying external organizational structure for the assortment, or helping consumers learn their preference.

Details

Review of Marketing Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-761-0

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2019

Yolande Piris and Nathalie Guibert

The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumers’ variety perception for online grocery assortments and, more generally, to better understand consumers’ attitude…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumers’ variety perception for online grocery assortments and, more generally, to better understand consumers’ attitude toward digital assortments. In particular, this research examines the influence of the organization of products that results from assortment structure and display.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting from the observation that previous work on traditional assortments is not sufficient to understand consumers’ perceptions and attitudes, the paper adopts a hypothetico-deductive approach and develops four hypotheses. These hypotheses are tested using an experimental approach.

Findings

This research enables us to see that both attitude and variety perception are affected by the way products are organized on a website. Furthermore, contrary to what the literature on traditional assortments allows one to assume, the assortment corresponding to a more positive attitude is not perceived as being the more varied. As a result, our findings reconsider the link between variety perception and consumer assortment evaluation for digital assortments.

Research limitations/implications

The work is based on data collected for only one product category. It would be interesting to explore other categories also, to determine if the structure of the assortment and variety perception have stable effects.

Practical implications

The results inform retailers that they must carefully design the display of their digital assortments. If a retailer wants to enhance variety perception, the authors recommend using an assortment organized by brand, or presenting all the products together. If, instead, the goal is to encourage a positive attitude, the retailer should opt for assortments sorted by attribute or that present all products together.

Originality/value

This research adopts a new orientation on assortment perception and evaluation, considering the specificities involved in digitizing assortments. In addition, this research studies a real product category and puts respondents in experimental conditions close to reality.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 47 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

Mayukh Dass and Piyush Kumar

A critical issue faced by retailers is determining the composition of the product assortment in every category and setting the price levels for each product without…

Abstract

Purpose

A critical issue faced by retailers is determining the composition of the product assortment in every category and setting the price levels for each product without compromising category‐level customer demand or operational efficiency. The purpose of this paper is to propose a novel, model‐based clustering approach to bring parsimony to retailers' assortment configuration and pricing process. The objective of the model is to group alternative assortment configurations into sets to which the category exhibits equivalent vulnerability.

Design/methodology/approach

In this method, each possible assortment and pricing configuration is first conceptualized as a unified entity and then these entities are clustered based on the vulnerability of category level sales. The authors illustrate the benefits of this new method for category planning using two sets of data for brands of soft drinks and enhanced water, collected from a panel of adult customers.

Findings

The results from both data sets show that several assortment configurations, varying significantly in terms of numbers of products and prices, result in similar levels of category vulnerability. In other words, several widely‐different product‐pricing combinations result in similar levels of category demand.

Originality/value

The paper's findings imply that retailers can bring parsimony to their category management process by shifting their strategic focus from individual brands to assortment clusters. Specifically, they can select the most efficient or the smallest assortment from each cluster without sacrificing category demand. Overall, the authors' approach can help simplify the complex decision‐making process related to product selection and price setting, and help retailers achieve the dual objective of operational efficiency and high category demand.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2018

José Luis Ruiz-Real, Juan Carlos Gázquez-Abad, Irene Esteban-Millat and Francisco J. Martínez-López

The authors analyze the relationship between different consumer attitudinal variables and a number of variables related to consumer perception of the store and purchasing…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors analyze the relationship between different consumer attitudinal variables and a number of variables related to consumer perception of the store and purchasing behavior, in assortments composed exclusively of private labels (PLs).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors developed an experiment based on an online survey to test the hypotheses formulated. The model’s causal relationships are established using structural equations.

Findings

The image of stores that only offer their own brand is mainly configured by price consciousness and the attitude toward the private label. The private label purchase intention is strongly influenced by the store image and a favorable attitude toward the brand, and loyalty strategies should be aimed at securing a clear perception of providing real value.

Practical implications

For retailers who only offer their own brands, an assortment with price-competitive PLs is key to the strategy of differentiating them from other retailers. It is reasonable to assume that, if retailers have a favorable image, customers transfer this brand value to their PLs and trust them. Customer loyalty strategies of these retailers should be aimed at ensuring that consumers clearly perceive that their assortment provides real value and that, although it is limited in terms of number of brands, it can meet all their needs.

Originality/value

This research represents a significant contribution to brand management literature because, includes, together with loyalty to the store, its image and the PL purchase intention as consumer response variables. Another differentiating feature is the methodology used. Estimation of the structural equation model permits the simultaneous estimation of the relationships between the variables.

Objetivos

Analizamos la relación entre diferentes variables actitudinales de los consumidores y un número de variables relativas a la percepción de los consumidores con respecto al establecimiento y el comportamiento de compra, todo ello en surtidos compuestos exclusivamente por marcas de distribuidor.

Metodología

Desarrollamos un experimento online, basado en una encuesta, para testar las hipótesis planteadas. Utilizamos ecuaciones estructurales para determiner las relaciones causales del modelo.

Resultados

La imagen de los establecimientos que ofrecen exclusivamente su propia marca se configura, principalmente, por la conciencia de precio y por la actitud de los consumidores hacia la marca privada. La intención de compra de la marca de distribuidor está fuertemente influenciada por la imagen del establecimiento y por una actitud favorable hacia dicha marca, por lo que las estrategias de fidelización de clientes deberían estar orientadas a asegurar una clara percepción de proporcionar valor real a los consumidores.

Implicaciones prácticas

Para los minoristas que ofertan exclusivamente sus propias marcas, un surtido con marcas de distribuidor muy competitivas en precio es fundamental en su estrategia de diferenciación de sus competidores. Además, es razonable suponer que si los minoristas cuentan con una imagen favorable, los consumidores trasladarán este valor de marca a sus propias marcas propias y confiarán en ellas. Las estrategias de fidelización de este tipo de minoristas deberían ir enfocadas a asegurarse de que los consumidores perciben claramente el valor real que aporta su surtido y que, aunque limitado en términos de número de marcas y alternativas, les permite cubrir todas sus necesidades.

Originalidad/valor

Esta investigación supone una significativa contribución a la literatura sobre gestión de marcas al incluir, conjuntamente con la lealtad al establecimiento, su imagen y la intención de compra de la marca de distribuidor como variables respuesta del consumidor. Otro elemento diferenciador es la metodología empleada, ya que la estimación del modelo de ecuaciones estructurales permite la estimación simultánea de las relaciones entre las distintas variables.

Details

Spanish Journal of Marketing - ESIC, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2444-9709

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2017

Denisa Hebblethwaite, Andrew G. Parsons and Mark T. Spence

Retailers may respond to a manufacturer discontinuing a brand or product range in three ways: not offering an alternative, thus reducing the assortment size; replacing it…

Abstract

Purpose

Retailers may respond to a manufacturer discontinuing a brand or product range in three ways: not offering an alternative, thus reducing the assortment size; replacing it with a substitute; or introducing a rebranded product by the same manufacturer, if such an option is available. This study aims to evaluate all three scenarios and assess the extent to which total category sales are affected; how these discontinuations affect alternative offerings within the product category; and whether usage levels moderate within category switching behaviour. Shoppers did not have the option of switching stores to acquire the discontinued brand – their preferred brand/product range ceased to exist.

Design/methodology/approach

All three studies are quasi-experiments using scanner panel data. The product discontinuations examined are real events that took place within the major supermarket chain in New Zealand.

Findings

In all the three scenarios, average category sales decreased for the three-month period following the discontinuation. In Study 1, where a preferred brand of milk was discontinued with no replacement, overall category sales decreased but competing brands gained sales; introducing a replacement corn chip range (Study 2) successfully captured the spend on the discontinued range, but other brands lost sales; and rebranding a cereal (Study 3) decreased both brand sales and category sales. With the exception of Study 1, near-substitute product offerings did not capture a greater proportion of the spend from the discontinued brand as compared to less similar substitutes. Expectations were that heavy users would have a greater propensity to shift to near alternatives than would medium/light users; however, none of the studies lend support.

Originality/value

This is the first research effort to use scanner panel data to explore the reactions by brand loyal customers to three different brand discontinuation scenarios initiated by the manufacturer.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 51 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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