No regrets: Close that menu and enjoy your meal more

Apr 09, 2013

Certain physical acts of completion provide consumers with a sense of closure that makes them happier with their purchases, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Choice closure, the psychological process through which perceive a decision as complete and stop reassessing their choice, can increase with decisions involving many alternatives. Subtle physical acts that symbolize closure can trigger choice closure and increase satisfaction," write authors Yangjie Gu, Simona Botti, and David Faro (all London Business School).

After making a purchase, consumers often revisit their decision and think about other options that were available. This can lower satisfaction with a decision, especially when the choice is a difficult one.

In a series of studies, consumers were asked to choose from a large selection of products (chocolates, teas, biscuits) and then either performed or didn't perform a physical act of closure. In one study, consumers were asked to choose one of twenty-four chocolates displayed on a tray covered by a lid and then either put the lid back on the tray or not before eating the selected . In other studies, consumers chose an item from an extensive menu and either closed the menu or not before tasting the chosen item. Consumers who closed the lid or the menu liked what they ate more than those who didn't perform an act of closure.

Not all acts of completion are equally effective in facilitating choice closure. For example, acts of closure performed by the after making a choice are more likely to lead to choice closure.

"Consumers are less likely to be satisfied with a purchase when they compare it to other options. Physical acts of closure enable consumers to perceive a difficult decision as complete and limit their tendency to compare their selection with the options they have rejected. Since such comparisons tend to be unfavorable, closure triggered by acts of closure will increase consumer satisfaction when there are many choices," the authors conclude.

Explore further: When identity marketing backfires: Consumers don't like to be told what they like

More information: Yangjie Gu, Simona Botti, and David Faro. "Turning the Page: The Impact of Choice Closure on Satisfaction." Journal of Consumer Research: August 2013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Product choice: When are consumers most satisfied?

Nov 13, 2012

Consumers may be less satisfied with the choices they make if their options are presented one at a time rather than all at once, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

How does the order of choices affect consumer decisions?

Mar 15, 2012

Let's say you've got to book a flight, choose a hotel, and rent a car. Does it matter which thing you shop for first? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that the order of choices does affect consumers' decisi ...

Recommended for you

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

14 hours ago

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.