Is it best to withhold favorable information about products?

Oct 21, 2011

Consumers are more likely to choose products when marketers withhold some favorable information until late in the choice process, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. But marketers need to walk a fine line to disclose information at just the right time.

" suggests that when seeking to persuade to buy certain products, sellers ought to always 'put their best foot forward' by providing as much favorable information about these products as possible once they have consumers' attention," write authors Xin Ge (University of Northern British Columbia), Gerald Häubl, and Terry Elrod (both University of Alberta). But the researchers' study challenges this view.

Consumers use a two-stage process to make purchase decisions. First, they assess the various alternatives available in the marketplace and screen out those that are not attractive to them. Then they evaluate a small set of products to make a final choice. The authors found that marketers need to strike a balance between revealing too much information too soon or delaying so long that the product doesn't survive the initial screening process.

"This research shows that the preference-enhancing effect of the delayed presentation of favorable information after consumers have completed their initial screening often trumps the disadvantage due to the increased risk of the product not surviving the screening, resulting in an increase in the product's overall probability of being chosen," the authors write.

Why does this happen? The authors found the delayed presentation of favorable information causes a shift in the relative importance that consumers attach to different attributes (like price, cleanliness, and size for hotel rooms). They also found that delayed release of information causes a preference boost for the product as consumers compare it to a more "static" competitor, for which no additional information becomes available in the final choice stage.

"These findings have important implications not only for the sellers of consumer , but also for other 'persuaders' seeking to influence the actions of target individuals or organizations," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Computer games give a boost to English

More information: Xin Ge, Gerald Häubl, and Terry Elrod. "What to Say When: Consumer Choice by Delaying the Presentation of Favorable Information." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2012 (published online August 15, 2011). www.ejcr.org/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Early product launches: How will consumers respond?

Apr 19, 2011

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explains why consumers often indicate they are willing to pay more for a product that is not yet available—but are reluctant to pay that price when the product is ultima ...

Recommended for you

Computer games give a boost to English

13 hours ago

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

18 hours ago

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

Healthy working environment is a salvation

20 hours ago

Contract workers in Norway often face the worst and most unpredictable working conditions. But good management and support from colleagues makes these workers more robust.

Why marvellous isn't awesome any more

20 hours ago

Using the Spoken British National Corpus 2014, a very large collection of recordings of real-life, informal, spoken interactions between speakers of British English from across the United Kingdom, Cambridge ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

knowledge_treehouse
not rated yet Oct 21, 2011
That way you wear them out before telling them how it is going to change their life. It depletes their glucose and then pushes their product instead of the idea of it: http://episin.blo...ice.html