Consumers think about products either rationally or experientially

January 27th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 27 (ANI): Are you a rational or experiential consumer? Well, this customer differentiation springs from a new study that suggests that people approach problems, products, and websites differently according to distinct thinking styles.
Thomas P. Novak and Donna L. Hoffman, of University of California-Riverside, say that their study suggests that consumers tend to think either rationally or experientially.
Revealing their finding in the Journal of Consumer Research, they said that it would be suitable for markers to design experience for consumers that allow a good fit between the style and the task.
The authors describe rational thinking as “logical, effortful, and analytic,” and experiential thinking as “associative, lower effort, and holistic.”
They say that rational activities include work, carefully considered decisions, and goal-directed tasks, while experiential activities include playing, browsing, and impulse buying.
In their study report, the researchers revealed that they used a measure called the Situation-Specific-Thinking-Style measure (SSTS) to measure and predict study participants” performance on a number of tasks, including vocabulary and geometry problems (rational) or activities such as suggesting ways to improve toys or websites (experiential).
“We found that people who reported thinking rationally performed better on rational tasks, and people who reported thinking experientially performed better on experiential tasks. In addition, the ”wrong type” of thinking actually hurt performance. People who approached a vocabulary or an IQ test problem in an experiential, intuitive manner actually had fewer correct answers than those who approached the problem logically,” say the authors.
The team say that though it is not possible for marketers to read consumers minds, they can offer opportunities for different thinking styles to be utilized.
“One approach is to design a store or website in a way that provides opportunities for consumers to think either way, and let the consumers choose what to do,” the researchers suggest.
“Since some people tend to think more rationally and others tend to think more intuitively, different people will have greater success and happiness with different activities. However, everyone is capable of thinking both ways, and sometimes just nudging yourself to think in a different direction can help you be more successful and feel more satisfied,” they conclude. (ANI)

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