Anticipated identification costs: Improving assortment evaluation by diagnostic attributes

E. van Herpen, F.G.M. Pieters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Consumers often make quick assessments of product assortments, to determine if these are worthwhile for further investigation. They anticipate how difficult it will be to distinguish the various options in the assortment, which will influence their assortment evaluations. We reason that these anticipated identification costs are conceptually and empirically distinct from anticipated decision-making costs, and that extrinsic product attributes, which are not consumable themselves, can reduce anticipated identification costs and improve assortment evaluation, by highlighting intrinsic product differences. In addition, we posit that the impact of such diagnostic extrinsic attributes depends on the assortment's complexity. Results of two experiments support these predictions. Keywords: Identification costs; Decision costs; Diagnosticity; Extrinsic attribute; Assortment evaluation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • multiattribute choice
  • information search
  • trivial attributes
  • decision research
  • consumer choice
  • dependence
  • behavior
  • attitude
  • model
  • color


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