Abstract

Consumers often have to create consideration sets when purchasing goals are not well defined. In these situations, the contents of a consideration set depend on a combination of two motives. First, consumers prefer to create a consideration set of easy-to-compare alternatives. It is easier to compare alternatives that have alignable attributes or alternatives that have overlapping features. Second, consumers prefer to create consideration sets that have a high likelihood of containing their optimal alternative. For example, when the set of available alternatives requires the consumer to make trade-offs between benefits (i.e., to be compensatory), the consumer often delays making a decision about which benefits are preferable, and the consideration set tends to contain a more diverse set of alternatives. We document several factors that influence the relative importance of one or the other motive in consideration set formation and discuss implications for brand managers.

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