An Investigation of Agent Assisted Consumer Information Search: Are Consumers Better Off?

Robert Moore, Mississippi State University
Girish Punj, University of Connecticut
ABSTRACT - Over the past few years, the World Wide Web has quickly become part of the consumers’ information arsenal. However, few researchers have examined the impact of consumer use of this electronic medium in the decision process; especially under different task conditions. With this focus, we address the issue of the amount of external information search that is conducted in a Web environment versus a traditional print environment. Specifically, in an experiment consisting of a 2 (environment) X 2 (time pressure) X 2 (number of alternatives) design, we examine differences between Web-based and traditional decision environment with respect to external information search activities. The study examines aspects of information search that the Web purportedly will affect the most, the ability to filter large amounts of data based on individual preferences. Dependent measures of interest include; the amount of search a consumer engages in, satisfaction with search, and decision confidence as a result of search activities. Findings indicate that the amount of information that is searched is indeed higher in a traditional environment, however the amount of search was not seen to affect information search outcomes such as satisfaction.
[ to cite ]:
Robert Moore and Girish Punj (2001) ,"An Investigation of Agent Assisted Consumer Information Search: Are Consumers Better Off?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 128.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 128

AN INVESTIGATION OF AGENT ASSISTED CONSUMER INFORMATION SEARCH: ARE CONSUMERS BETTER OFF?

Robert Moore, Mississippi State University

Girish Punj, University of Connecticut

ABSTRACT -

Over the past few years, the World Wide Web has quickly become part of the consumers’ information arsenal. However, few researchers have examined the impact of consumer use of this electronic medium in the decision process; especially under different task conditions. With this focus, we address the issue of the amount of external information search that is conducted in a Web environment versus a traditional print environment. Specifically, in an experiment consisting of a 2 (environment) X 2 (time pressure) X 2 (number of alternatives) design, we examine differences between Web-based and traditional decision environment with respect to external information search activities. The study examines aspects of information search that the Web purportedly will affect the most, the ability to filter large amounts of data based on individual preferences. Dependent measures of interest include; the amount of search a consumer engages in, satisfaction with search, and decision confidence as a result of search activities. Findings indicate that the amount of information that is searched is indeed higher in a traditional environment, however the amount of search was not seen to affect information search outcomes such as satisfaction.

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