Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Returns to search when consumers use and do not use recommendation agents
Satish Sasalu Maheswarappa, Bharadhwaj Sivakumaran, Arun G. Kumar
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate returns to search (getting a better product and/or alower price as a result of search) when consumers use/do not use recommendation agents (RAs).
Specifically,it studies the effect of RAs/no RAs on decision quality, decision confidence and decision satisfaction takinginto account subjective knowledge (SK) and involvement.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper employed two between-subjects factorial experimentaldesigns with subjects searching for digital cameras in a simulated online digital camera store. The experimentwas conducted with graduate students in Chennai, Bengaluru and Mysore in India.
Findings – Results of two online experiments showed that when consumers used RAs, low search led tobetter decision quality, whereas when consumers did not use RAs, medium search led to optimum decisionquality. When consumers use RAs, SK had a U-shaped influence on the decision quality indicating thatdecision quality was the lowest for those with medium SK. When consumers did not use RAs, the effect of SKon decision quality was an inverted U-shape, indicating optimum decision quality for medium SK consumers.
When consumers did not use RAs, subjects with high involvement made better choices, whereas whenconsumers used RAs, low involvement subjects made better choices. However, subjects who searched morehad higher decision confidence and decision satisfaction even if their choices were not better.
Originality/value – The effect of RA vs no RA in conjunction with relevant consumer characteristicsinfluencing decision quality of the consumer is demonstrated in this study. The findings have importantmanagerial, consumer and theoretical contributions to make.
- Satish Sasalu Maheswarappa
Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli, Tiruchirappalli, India
Department of Marketing, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India
- Arun G. Kumar
Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Madras,Chennai, India