Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Do Appetizers Matter More When You’re Dining Out with Friends?

First impressions of experiences have a greater impact when consumers share the experience with others, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“When consumers consume an experience alone, the end of the experience has a greater effect on their overall evaluations. On the other hand, when consumers consume an experience with others, the beginning has a greater influence on how they judge the entire experience,” write authors Rajesh Bhargave (University of Texas, San Antonio) and Nicole Votolato Montgomery (University of Virginia).
Experiences (vacations, concerts, meals) often have multiple components that can be judged separately. For example, a consumer visiting a museum might like some paintings but dislike others, or a diner at a restaurant might love the appetizers and main course but hate dessert. How consumers judge experiences may depend on whether they are shared with others or consumed alone.
In one study, consumers viewed a series of paintings while either seated alone or with companions. One group was shown a series of paintings beginning with the “least enjoyable” painting and ending with the “most enjoyable,” while another group was shown the same paintings in the reverse order. Consumers who were seated alone preferred the series of paintings with the “most enjoyable” painting presented last, while those who viewed the paintings with companions preferred the series with the “most enjoyable” painting presented first.
The order of events in an experience can greatly influence overall enjoyment. Tour operators, museum curators, event planners, spa and resort managers, and others charged with creating consumption experiences should consider whether consumers tend to engage in the experience alone or with others.
“While consumers sometimes engage in experiences alone, they often share them with others and their overall evaluations are shaped by the social context in which they occur. Companies should consider the social context of a consumption experience, because consumers think differently and form different memories and evaluations when they feel bonded to others,” the authors conclude. 

Why Is It Easier to Lose 2-4 Pounds Rather Than 3 Pounds?

Consumers are more likely to pursue goals when they are ambitious yet flexible, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Whether a goal is a high-low range goal (lose 2 to 4 pounds this week) or a single number goal (lose 3 pounds this week) has a systematic effect on goal reengagement. High-low range goals influence consumer goal reengagement through feelings of accomplishment, which itself is driven by the attainability and challenge of the goal,” write authors Maura L. Scott (Florida State University) and Stephen M. Nowlis (Washington University in St. Louis).
Consumers often have a choice about the types of goals they want to set for themselves, and they may want to repeat various goals over time. For example, consumers often reengage goals such as losing weight, saving money, or improving their exercise or sports performance.
In one study, consumers in a weight loss program set either high-low range goals or single number goals. At the end of the program, consumers with high-low range goals reenrolled in the program at higher rates even though there was no difference in actual average weight loss across the two groups. In other studies, consumers exhibited similar behaviors with other goals such as resisting tempting foods, solving puzzles, or playing a grocery shopping game.
A high-low range goal can offer “the best of both worlds” compared to a single number goal due to its flexibility: the high end of the goal (lose 4 pounds) increases the challenge of the goal, while the low end (lose 2 pounds) increases its attainability. On the other hand, a single number goal (lose 3 pounds) may be perceived as a compromise and therefore both less challenging and less attainable.
“Consumers are more likely to pursue a goal when they set a high-low range goal instead of a single number goal. Consumers experience a greater sense of accomplishment when a goal is both attainable and challenging, and this makes them want to continue to pursue or reengage their goal,” the authors conclude. 

Consumer Choice and Product Organization

Consumers choose lower-priced products and are more satisfied with their purchase when products are organized by benefits instead of features, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“It matters whether products are organized by features or benefits. Simply changing the way the same set of products is organized impacts how consumers process information and make choices,” write authors Cait Poynor Lamberton (University of Pittsburgh) and Kristin Diehl (University of Southern California).
Consumers frequently shop for products that have been organized by both features and benefits. For example, Crest organizes toothpaste by features (pastes, gels, stripes) or benefits (whitening, flavor, sensitivity).
In one study, consumers were asked to choose from an assortment of nutrition bars organized either by benefits (muscle-building, fat-burning) or features (fruit bars, nut bars). Consumers perceived the products to be more similar (offering less variety) and therefore interchangeable when they were organized by benefits instead of features. The perception that products organized by benefits are less distinctive led consumers to focus on price and choose cheaper items.
Consumers should be aware that items organized by benefits might seem to be more similar than they actually are. By focusing solely on price, consumers may end up sacrificing quality to save money when they shouldn’t. On the other hand, consumers should also be aware that they are more likely to notice differences when products are organized by features. This can prevent them from paying more for an item when the difference doesn’t really matter.
“Companies have an almost infinite number of options in setting up their product assortments, especially online. Organizing options makes decision making easier, but the decision about how to organize also matters. As a form of choice architecture, assortment organization shouldn’t be overlooked – it can make a big difference for both consumers and companies,” the authors conclude. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to stay ahead of consumer behavior

Great article by Accenture. Download it by clicking here.o