Nav: Home

Different strokes for different folks

November 14, 2016

People use different criteria when they're searching for a gift than when they are buying for themselves. New research identifies the cues that encourage purchases in each situation.

In "Limited Edition for Me and Best Seller for You: The Impact of Scarcity versus Popularity Cues on Self versus Other-Purchase Behavior," Professors Laurie Wu, of the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and Fox School of Business at Temple University, and Christopher Lee, of Arizona State's W.P. Carey School of Business, investigate what kinds of cues motivated people to buy for themselves and for others.

The authors describe the cues as either the "scarcity" type - promising that supplies of a product were limited and thus implying greater value - or the "popularity" type - assuring consumers that the product was a best-seller, for example, and implying that it was a safe gift to give.

In one study, participants were instructed to imagine purchasing a bottle of wine for a colleague from an online retailer. The product description for the wine included either a scarcity cue (i.e., this wine is a limited edition) or a popularity cue (i.e., this wine is a bestseller). The study also measured how the buyer perceived himself and his preferences in relation to the colleague. A subsequent study added price to the mix to determine if people tended to spend more on themselves than on a gift for others.

The studies showed that when people were buying the wine for themselves, their perception of the wine's uniqueness drove the purchase. When buying for others whom they did not assume shared their preferences, they wanted to ensure that the wine was a popular one, not a risky bet. The addition of price moderated both responses: As people tend to associate scarcity with high price and popularity with affordability, the results showed that, for wine, the "scarcity for me" effect was significant only at the high price point while the "popularity for others" effect was significant only at the low price point.

The authors suggest that online retailers, in particular, use the results of their research to tailor promotions. For example, they write, "If a customer clicks on the "gifts" tab on a retailer's website, the product assortment could be altered to highlight "best seller" products, given the positive effect on product attitudes and purchase intentions."
-end-


Journal of Retailing at New York University

Related Wine Articles:

Searching for the characteristics of award-winning wine
New WSU research shows large wine challenges tend to favor wines with high ethanol and sugar levels.
Given more information about how wine is made, consumers less likely to pay for organic
Consumers are more willing to pay for wine that comes with an organic or organic grape label but providing information about certification standards and organic production practices reduces consumer willingness to pay for all wines.
Modern beer yeast emerged from mix of European grape wine, Asian rice wine yeast
For thousands of years brewers made beer using specialized strains of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Keeping heavy metals out of beer and wine
A frosty mug of beer or ruby-red glass of wine just wouldn't be the same if the liquid was murky or gritty.
What's behind smelly wine
Aging often improves the flavor of wine, but sometimes the beverage emerges from storage with an unpleasant smell.
A detective story of wildfires and wine
In this story of wine and smoke taint, everyone knows 'whodunit' -- it's the smoke from wildfires.
Red wine proves good for the heart (again)
Antioxidant compounds found in red wine are advancing the treatment of heart disease -- the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US Researchers have developed drug-eluting stents with red wine antioxidants.
Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today -- if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by.
Wine 'legs' and minibot motors (video)
As any wine enthusiast knows, the 'legs' that run down a glass after a gentle swirl of vino can yield clues about alcohol content.
Take charge, wine lovers, and trust your palate
The traditional pairing of wine and food too often misses the mark - leaving people confused and intimated - and should be scrapped in favor of a more consumer-focused approach, a new study indicates.
More Wine News and Wine Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.