Exclusive Or Intensive Distribution? the Signaling Role of Channel Intensity in Consumer Information Processing

ABSTRACT - One of the firm’s strategic goals in restricting product availability is to signal quality and market demand. Such signals sometimes backfire when consumers consider them incongruous with product merits. We examine three conditions under which backfiring is likely to occur: (1) high processing motivation, (2) strong need for cognition, and (3) moderate product familiarity. We discover two hierarchical processes by which the consumer’s inferential beliefs may mediate the effect of distribution intensity signals on purchase intention. One process treats distribution exclusivity as a signal that facilitates purchases by providing diagnostic information on product target and quality. Another process treats exclusivity as a restriction that inhibits demand by increasing search cost and inducing unfavorable attribution to the firm. These two processes differentially respond to high and low distribution intensity signals.



Citation:

Scarlett Li Lam (2001) ,"Exclusive Or Intensive Distribution? the Signaling Role of Channel Intensity in Consumer Information Processing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 204.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 204

EXCLUSIVE OR INTENSIVE DISTRIBUTION? THE SIGNALING ROLE OF CHANNEL INTENSITY IN CONSUMER INFORMATION PROCESSING

Scarlett Li Lam, University of California at Berkeley

ABSTRACT -

One of the firm’s strategic goals in restricting product availability is to signal quality and market demand. Such signals sometimes backfire when consumers consider them incongruous with product merits. We examine three conditions under which backfiring is likely to occur: (1) high processing motivation, (2) strong need for cognition, and (3) moderate product familiarity. We discover two hierarchical processes by which the consumer’s inferential beliefs may mediate the effect of distribution intensity signals on purchase intention. One process treats distribution exclusivity as a signal that facilitates purchases by providing diagnostic information on product target and quality. Another process treats exclusivity as a restriction that inhibits demand by increasing search cost and inducing unfavorable attribution to the firm. These two processes differentially respond to high and low distribution intensity signals.

----------------------------------------

Authors

Scarlett Li Lam, University of California at Berkeley



Volume

NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28 | 2001



Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More

Featured

Accounting For Gains From Discounted Credit

Andong Cheng, University of Delaware, USA
Ernest Baskin, Yale University, USA

Read More

Featured

My Money is Yours, but My Time is Still Mine: Inseparability of Consumption from the Self Increases Control and Giving

John P. Costello, Ohio State University, USA
Selin A. Malkoc, Ohio State University, USA

Read More

Featured

Growing Up Rich and Insecure Makes Objects Seem Human: Childhood Material and Social Environments Predict Anthropomorphism

Jodie Whelan, York University, Canada
Sean T. Hingston, York University, Canada
Matthew Thomson, Western University, Canada
Allison R. Johnson, Western University, Canada

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.