Funded Phd Research

Hoori Rafieian

Retailers design assortments to attract consumers. Consumers choose (from) assortments in a way that maximizes their consumption utility with regards to their preferences for the items offered in the assortment. However, the utility derived from consumption can be impacted by the goals the consumer is pursuing at the time of consumption. We specifically focus on health-related goals (e.g., losing weight, being fit) and investigate how pursuing such goals can affect the way assortments of vice (goal-inconsistent) and virtue (goal-consistent) products are perceived and selected. We find that when a health goal is activated, consumers will seek less variety when the available alternatives are goal-inconsistent (e.g., choosing among  dessert options), and more variety when the choices are goal-consistent (e.g., choosing among fresh vegetable options). We further contend that this happens because a higher variety of items in an assortment makes it feel as if it contains a higher quantity of items. These results have important implications for retailers when designing assortments. A package that offers a high-variety of healthy options and one that offers a low-variety of hedonic (i.e., unhealthy) options might have a greater appeal for health-conscious consumers than those who do not have health concerns.