Previously published in Examiner
A new study suggests that when consumers shop for products they are more concerned with what they see as value rather than experience with the product. For example, how many people do you know that will only buy one brand of laundry detergent because of the value they perceive this product has? Many housewives choose the products their mothers choose because their mother chooses them. Yet, they have not tried other products to see if they are better or worse than the products they are accustomed to.
Another big factor in our reasons for choosing our products is what the researchers call evaluation based on numbers. We understand numbers and measurements. We can see what is more expensive, less expensive, heavier, lighter, old or new, and so on. However, sometimes when we buy these products based on sales, or more product for the money we are not always satisfied. This is what the researcher call the reward system, buy this product and you will get more for your value this is your reward. However, many people do not know what they are getting in terms of quality because they have no experience with the product. They are often dissatisfied with what they formerly called a great buy.
Jingjing Ma and Neal J. Roese (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University), are the authors of the study. They also wanted to know if getting a cash gift for a purchase or a material gift like a free toaster or a coat for the winter made a difference when the values of the material reward were equivalent to the cash reward.
In one study, the consumers were rewarded with either cash or slices of cake. They were less happy with the cash as they could see how much they were getting. Whereas, they didn’t care of they got big slices or smaller slices of cake, they commented and appreciated the taste rather than the size of the piece.
In another study the consumers were more upset if they lost out on a deal that is countable, like buy one get one free, rather than if they missed out on a larger package for the same price.
“This suggests that programs offering rewards that can be easily counted such as airline frequent flyer miles may be less satisfying to consumers than less easily counted reward programs such as those offering free products or vacation packages. Countability drives comparisons. When rewards are easily counted, people are more likely to compare themselves with others. But when rewards are less easily counted, people focus mostly on the unique aspects of their own experience,” the authors conclude.”