The Psychology of Category Design: the Impact of Goal-Derived Structures on Consumer Information Processing and Choice

Cait Poynor, University of South Carolina, U.S.A.
Kristin Diehl, University of Southern California, U.S.A.
Retailers try to manage large assortments by arranging their assortments in different types of categories. Our research investigates how different types of externally provided category structures (taxonomic or goal-based) impact the decision process. We provide process evidence that taxonomic groupings prompt consumers to create contrast effects among alternatives, while goal-based groupings cause consumers to engage in assimilative processes. As a result, participants selecting from goal-based groupings report higher similarity among specific options (local similarity) as well as the assortment as a whole and are less willing to pay higher prices compared to those choosing from taxonomic sets.
[ to cite ]:
Cait Poynor and Kristin Diehl (2007) ,"The Psychology of Category Design: the Impact of Goal-Derived Structures on Consumer Information Processing and Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 478-480.