Dorsman, André B.; Koch, André; Jager, Menno; Thibeault, André (2013)
Business practitioners increasingly seem to believe in the power of goal-based labels (i.e., labels that link assortment items to consumption goals). While previous literature has focused on feature-based approaches to increase choice satisfaction, we introduce goal-based labeling as a consumer-based approach to increase choice satisfaction. Since goal-based labels (e.g., a “Family Trip” camera versus a “Professional” camera) relate choice alternatives directly to consumption goals, they allow consumers to bypass translating product attributes into goal attainment. Quantitative and qualitative results of an experimental study indicate that novice consumers, but not experts, benefit from goal-based labeling in multiple ways. Novice consumers use goal-based labels as an important cue in their decision making. This can significantly increase their chances at making an optimal choice. Choosing from a goal-based labeled assortment also has a positive effect on the choice satisfaction of novices. Mediation analyses show that a decrease in the choice uncertainty drives the positive effect of goal-based labeling on choice satisfaction. Novices apparently do not blindly follow the labels that are provided but try to understand the link between labels and attributes. Hence, among novices, inaccurately labeled assortments not only result in suboptimal choice but also in higher uncertainty and lower satisfaction. For experts, goal-based labeling is largely irrelevant, as it does not have an effect on their choice satisfaction, nor on their likelihood to make an optimal choice.
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