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Cueing in on quality

06.06.2005


How consumers process positive and negative product cues



It can be a tough call. Should you get the red car or the black one? The beige interior or grey? Leather or fabric seats? The list goes on and on of the many intrinsic attributes of this new and shiny purchase. In addition, the decision is further complicated by the many extrinsic attributes of a car like warranty and where the car was made. An article in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that these extrinsic attributes play an important role in how consumers perceive the quality of a given product.

"When intrinsic information is scarce, the relationship is more pronounced when a positive price cue is paired with a positive second cue (e.g., strong warranty, positive country of origin, strong brand). When the two cues are inconsistent, consumers find the negative cue more salient and overweight it in their evaluations. This interaction is moderated by the presence of abundant levels of intrinsic attribute information," found Anthony Miyazaki (Florida International University) and colleagues.


This study finds consumers assess the quality of a product based upon the total sum of the cues: "Products constitute an array of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes that consumers use to determine product quality. Intrinsic attributes are an integral part of and inseparable from the physical product. Extrinsic attributes (e.g., price, warranty, country of origin, brand name) are not physical components of the product, and changes have no material effects on the actual product, yet they often serve as cues that may affect consumers’ quality perceptions."

Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

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