Consumer Perceptions of Product Parity in E-Commerce Markets: the Effect of Search Set Size on Parity Judgments and Choice Satisfaction

Stacy Wood, University of South Carolina
Scott Swain, University of South Carolina
J. Daniel Wadden, University of South Carolina
ABSTRACT - The ease of navigation afforded by e-commerce threatens to remove many of the consumer search costs that some retailers rely upon to create or enhance product differentiation and exposes consumers to more products within the scope of a typical search period than ever before. The existence of (and the ability to reasonably search) a greatly-expanded universe of options may impact consumers’ perceptions of product category parity and consumption emotions such as choice confidence and satisfaction. The effect of parity judgments and choice satisfaction on issues of price sensitivity and channel adoption, respectively, render this an important issue. We investigate this domain via multiple methodologies. Findings suggest that e-retailers may have little to fear, and even much to gain, from the effects of larger search sets on consumers.
[ to cite ]:
Stacy Wood, Scott Swain, and J. Daniel Wadden (2001) ,"Consumer Perceptions of Product Parity in E-Commerce Markets: the Effect of Search Set Size on Parity Judgments and Choice Satisfaction", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 394.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 394

CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF PRODUCT PARITY IN E-COMMERCE MARKETS: THE EFFECT OF SEARCH SET SIZE ON PARITY JUDGMENTS AND CHOICE SATISFACTION

Stacy Wood, University of South Carolina

Scott Swain, University of South Carolina

J. Daniel Wadden, University of South Carolina

ABSTRACT -

The ease of navigation afforded by e-commerce threatens to remove many of the consumer search costs that some retailers rely upon to create or enhance product differentiation and exposes consumers to more products within the scope of a typical search period than ever before. The existence of (and the ability to reasonably search) a greatly-expanded universe of options may impact consumers’ perceptions of product category parity and consumption emotions such as choice confidence and satisfaction. The effect of parity judgments and choice satisfaction on issues of price sensitivity and channel adoption, respectively, render this an important issue. We investigate this domain via multiple methodologies. Findings suggest that e-retailers may have little to fear, and even much to gain, from the effects of larger search sets on consumers.

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