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What to Say When: Influencing Consumer Choice by Delaying the Presentation of Favorable Information

Xin Ge, Gerald Häubl and Terry Elrod
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 38, No. 6 (April 2012), pp. 1004-1021
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/661937
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/661937
Page Count: 18
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What to Say When: Influencing Consumer Choice by Delaying the
                    Presentation of Favorable Information
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Abstract

Delaying the presentation of some favorable information about an alternative (e.g., a product, service, brand, store, or cause) until after consumers have completed their pre-choice screening can increase that alternative’s choice share. While such a delay reduces the alternative’s chance of surviving the screening, it can actually increase its probability of ultimately being chosen. Evidence from five experiments demonstrates this preference-enhancing effect of the delayed presentation of favorable information, and it illustrates the underlying preference dynamics across decision stages associated with such a delay. The findings also indicate that this preference-enhancing effect is driven by a combination of two mental mechanisms—a shift in the decision weights of attribute dimensions (rendering dimensions on which a delay occurs more influential across all alternatives) and an overall preference boost for the alternative about which information is delayed.

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