Society & Culture - Posted by Andy Henion-Michigan State on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 11:50 - 0 Comments
Online shoppers like to take, not make, offers
MICHIGAN STATE (US) — Online shoppers prefer to receive an offer—rather than make one—for a product or service, a new study shows.
The findings may come as a surprise since shopping online is an anonymous process that seemingly can give consumers more confidence to drive a hard bargain, says Don Conlon, professor of management at Michigan State University.
But the study, published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, found that participants who made their own offers were less successful in sealing the deal and, when they were successful, worried they overpaid. Many shoppers found the process of researching an offer to be a hassle.
Straight from the Source
“Americans are very busy, and it’s less time consuming to be the one receiving the offer rather than the one proposing the offer,” Conlon says. “People tend to be happier when they’re in the receiver role.”
Online spending in the United States is expected to jump 45 percent in the next four years, from $226 billion this year to $327 billion in 2016, according to Forrester Research Inc.
Conlon got the idea for the study after considering the difference between two popular sites for hotels and airline flights: priceline.com, which takes bids, and hotwire.com, which provides offers.
Using these two models, Conlon and his fellow researchers conducted a series of experiments with more than 850 people who were charged with booking a fictional hotel room and acquiring a fictional antique car.
Not only did participants prefer to receive bids, Conlon says, but they also made more deals in that receiver role. Further, when they had to make the bids, they were left more mentally taxed and regretful.
From an industry perspective, putting customers in the receiver role may help fill more hotel rooms and airplane seats. “If you’re a business with a lot of product,” Conlon says, “you may want to be the one making the offers.”
However, when selling single items, such as an antique car, accepting bids may be a better option since that typically drives up the price.
Researchers from the University of Arizona, Penn State, and Georgetown University contributed to the study.
More news from Michigan State University: http://news.msu.edu/