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Study examines effect of consumers picking their own price

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Washington [US], February 19 (ANI): Researchers from California Polytechnic State University and the University of Oregon during a recent study examined the potential benefits for firms and consumers of pick-your-price (PYP) over pay-what-you-want (PWYW) and fixed pricing strategies.
The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “The Control-Effort Trade-Off in Participative Pricing: How Easing Pricing Decisions Enhances Purchase Outcomes” and is authored by Cindy Wang, Joshua Beck, and Hong Yuan.
Over the past few decades, marketers have experimented with pricing strategies that delegate some or all of the price determination to consumers. Their goal is to engage consumers, boost sales, enhance brand loyalty, and contribute to a sellers’ overall competitive position.
However, in recent years many firms, including Priceline.com, Panera Bread, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have abandoned their once-famous use of participative pricing and reverted to fixed prices.
The research team pins down and theorizes a tension that consumers experience when they evaluate a purchase that involves participative pricing. On one hand, consumers are attracted to the economically advantageous pricing terms (i.e., pay anything, including $0) that permit them to maximize their utility.
On the other hand, consumers must decide the final price, which takes effort. Building on this control-effort proposition, the researchers predict an overall negative effect of a pay-what-you-want (PWYW) pricing strategy because of the high effort involved in deciding the final price. They also predict an overall positive effect of a novel pick your price (PYP) strategy, which allows consumers to choose a price from a set of options.
PWYW and PYP both enhance feelings of pricing control, but PYP does not increase pricing effort since consumers find it relatively easy to make constrained choices. The study investigates the effects of PWYW and PYP with five studies in a variety of contexts (e.g., retail food, health services, financial services, entertainment, and household products).
Some primary results from a field study that involves actual purchases and profit outlines establish the strong performance of PYP relative to fixed prices and PWYW. Findings from lab experiments further validate that compared to a fixed price, PWYW decreases purchase intentions because of the high pricing effort, even though it confers full pricing control.
However, because PYP provides a sense of pricing control but not pricing effort, it consequently increases purchase intentions. These effects hold regardless of the price level (high vs. low). Additionally, shopping motives (to save money or time) influence the effects of PWYW and PYP on purchase intentions.
As Wang explains, “When consumers are motivated to save money, the advantages of pricing control are amplified and the costs of pricing effort are minimized; thus, both PWYW and PYP increase purchase intentions relative to a fixed price. Alternatively, when consumers are motivated to save time, the disadvantages of pricing effort are enhanced and the advantages of pricing control are attenuated. Hence, under such conditions, PWYW performs worse than fixed price and PYP and fixed price’s performance are comparable.”
Also, single (vs. multiple) purchase decisions serve as a crucial factor, such that the positive effect of PYP on purchase choice attenuates over multiple purchase decisions because they require a great deal of effort. Lastly, in a parallel investigation in donation contexts, both PWYW and PYP perform significantly better than a fixed price strategy.
By adopting a consumer perspective on participative pricing, this study explains why PWYW might decrease purchases and specifies when PWYW and PYP will be more or less effective.
Beck says that “Managers can selectively implement PWYW and PYP to enhance their pricing performance. Adopting PWYW strategies requires careful consideration, and even if marketing research were to indicate that consumers favour higher pricing control, the execution might fail due to consumers’ reluctance to expend effort to determine their own prices. Alternatively, firms might benefit more generally from adopting PYP strategies.”
Consumers’ willingness to exert pricing effort also varies across shopping contexts. For example, the research suggests PWYW is more effective when consumers are motivated to save money, such as during the holiday season. Yet PWYW likely is less effective for busy consumers just seeking to get their holiday shopping done quickly.
For online stores that emphasize monetary savings, both PYP and PWYW could be more effective than conventional fixed prices. Contexts that involve donations are another scenario for which participative pricing, especially PWYW, promises benefits; consumers already expect to expend effort for the benefit of others. (ANI)

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Travelers booking hotels online should trust instinct more than algorithms

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): A recent study suggested that travelers looking to book a hotel should trust their gut instinct when it comes to online reviews, rather than relying on computer algorithms to weed out the fake ones.
Research, led by the University of York in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, shows the challenges of online ‘fake’ reviews for both users and computer algorithms. It suggests that a greater awareness of the linguistic characteristics of ‘fake’ reviews can allow online users to spot the ‘real’ from the ‘fake’ for themselves.
Dr Snehasish Banerjee, Lecturer in Marketing from the University of York’s Management School, said: “Reading and writing online reviews of hotels, restaurants, venues and so on, is a popular activity for online users, but alongside this, ‘fake’ reviews have also increased.
“Companies can now use computer algorithms to distinguish the ‘fake’ from the ‘real’ with a good level of accuracy, but the extent to which company websites use these algorithms is unclear and so some ‘fake’ reviews slip through the net.
“We wanted to understand whether the human analysis was capable of filling this gap and whether more could be done to educate online users on how to approach these reviews.”
The researchers tasked 380 people to respond to questions about three hotel reviews – some authentic, others fake – based on their perception of the reviews. The users could rely on the same cues that computer algorithms use to discern ‘fake’ reviews, which includes the number of superlatives in the review, the level of details if it was easy to read, and appeared noncommittal.
For those who already skeptical of online reviews, this was a relatively straightforward task, but most could not identify factors such as ‘easy to read’ and ‘non-committal’ like a computer algorithm could. In the absence of this skill, the participants relied on ‘gut instinct’.
Dr Banerjee said: “The outcomes were surprisingly effective. We often assume that the human brain is no match for a computer, but in actual fact, there are certain things we can do to train the mind in approaching some aspects of life differently.
“Following this study, we are recommending that people need to curb their instincts on truth and deception bias – the tendency to either approach online content with the assumption that it is all true or all fake respectively – as neither method works in the online environment.
“Online users often fail to detect fake reviews because they do not proactively look for deception cues. There is a need to change this default review reading habit, and if the reading habit is practiced long enough, they will eventually be able to rely on their gut instinct for fake review detection.”
The research also reminds businesses that ethical standards should be upheld to ensure that genuine experiences of their services are reflected online. (ANI)

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‘Game Of Thrones’ alum Indira Varma roped in for Obi-Wan Kenobi Series On Disney Plus

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): British actor Indira Varma has now become the newest entrant to join the cast of the Disney Plus series named Obi-Wan Kenobi. The ‘Game of Thrones’ alumni will play a lead on the new show that is currently being developed with Ewan McGregor.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Indira will star in the series opposite Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christiansen, who will reprise their roles as, respectively, Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former pupil, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
In keeping with the cone of silence surrounding the show, details about Varma’s character have not been released at the moment. The series is expected to fall in between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope’ in the ‘Star Wars’ timeline.
Producer Joby Harold, whose credits include, ‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ and ‘Underground’, will be writing the show. He came aboard in April 2020 following a creative reset. ‘The Mandalorian’ veteran Deborah Chow is set to direct.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Varma is currently a series regular on ABC’s legal drama ‘For Life’, which wrapped its second season last week. She played Ellaria Sand on ‘Game of Thrones’ and her other credits include Amazon’s ‘Carnival Row’ and HBO’s ‘Rome’. (ANI)

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Spike Lee, HBO team-up for 9/11 20th anniversary documentary

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): American filmmaker, Spike Lee, and television network, HBO will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a multi-part documentary, chronicling the way New York has survived the past 2 decades.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the multi-part series will focus on the past two decades in New York and residents’ resilience in facing terrorism and a pandemic. The project, titled ‘NYC Epicenters 9/11- 2021 1/2 ‘, is currently under production and will offer a portrait of New Yorkers as they rebuild and rebound, whether from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the coronavirus pandemic of the past year.
Lee will marshal what HBO calls a “staggering amount of visual imagery” and the first-hand accounts of people from all walks of life. The documentary will be aired later this year on HBO and will stream on HBO Max. It will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, ‘NYC Epicenters’ is the latest project in a long-standing relationship Lee has with HBO. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker has previously directed ‘4 Little Girls’, ‘When the Levees Broke’, and most recently ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’, among other projects for HBO. (ANI)

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TI will not reprise his role in ‘Ant-Man 3’

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): American rapper, TI who debuted in the original 2015 ‘Ant-Man’ as Dave, will not be reprising his role for the third installment of the movie franchise by Marvel.
According to Variety, insiders close to the Disney project have revealed that TI was never slated to return, despite the implication that recent and grave allegations against him had to do with the decision.
The 40-year-old performer, whose off-stage name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr, previously played a supporting role in a comedic crew of men assisting Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, the titular hero of the past two ‘Ant-Man’ films.
As per Variety, TI and his wife, Tiny Harris, are currently facing allegations of sexual abuse and drugging by six anonymous women claiming that the duo had abused them, with some describing instances of drugging, kidnapping, and rape. (ANI)

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Constance Wu joins Chris Pratt’s Amazon series ‘The Terminal List’

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): Hollywood actor Constance Wu will be returning to series television as the female lead opposite Chris Pratt in Amazon’s conspiracy-thriller series ‘The Terminal List’, based on Jack Carr’s bestselling novel.
According to Deadline, Pratt will executively produce the series along with Antoine Fuqua, who will direct, along with writer David DiGilio.
‘The Terminal List’ follows James Reece (Pratt) after his entire platoon of Navy SEALs is ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission. Reece returns home to his family with conflicting memories of the event and questions about his culpability. However, as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life but the lives of those he loves.
Wu will be portraying the character of Katie Buranek, a risk-seeking war correspondent who uses her byline to speak truth to power. Katie left her desk at a prestigious news outlet to pursue high-impact stories on her own terms. Now at a crossroads in her career, she finds an unlikely ally in rogue Navy SEAL James Reece. She seeks to re-enter the mainstream by bringing the truth about Reece and the conspiracy he is fighting against to light.
Carr will also serve as an executive producer along with Pratt and Jon Schumacher through Indivisible Productions and Fuqua will do it through Fuqua Films (The Equalizer, Training Day). DiGilio will write, show-run, and executive produce.
As per Deadline, Wu, known for her starring roles in box office hits ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Hustlers’, is coming off her 6-season run as Jessica Huang in ‘Fresh Off the Boat’. She will next be seen in the Amazon anthology series ‘Solos’, alongside Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Uzo Aduba, Nicole Beharie, Anthony Mackie, and Dan Stevens. (ANI)

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BTS to join performance lineup at 2021 Grammys MusiCares event

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Washington [US], March 2 (ANI): South Korean boy band BTS will be performing at the MusiCares event, which is an official Grammy Week event that is a virtual concert/fundraiser for the employees in the music industry.
According to Variety, the Recording Academy announced BTS will perform at MusiCares’ “Music on a Mission” virtual concert. Later that weekend, BTS will compete for Grammy’s best pop duo/group performance award for their first all-English song, ‘Dynamite’, from their 2020 album ‘BE’.
The K-pop supergroup joins a lineup that features new performances from H.E.R., John Legend, Haim, and Jhene Aiko. The event will also air special footage from the MusiCares vault, which includes songs from Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Stevie Nicks, and the late Tom Petty.
This inclusion of BTS will likely attract its legion of fans, ARMY. There worldwide, millions-strong fan community are known for their mobilization skills and could vehemently bolster the fundraiser.
BTS only recently made their ‘MTV Unplugged’ debut. Known for stadium spectaculars, the band offered fans a more intimate experience. The 30-minute show included a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ and hits like ‘Life Goes On’ and ‘Dynamite’.
As per Variety, the virtual concert will take place on March 12, just ahead of the Grammys ceremony on March 14. It is typically a Person of the Year concert, but will instead serve as a virtual fundraiser to honor the COVID-19- affected music community. Tickets will be USD 25 and all proceeds will go to those hardest hit by the pandemic. (ANI)

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