Consumers' preference shifts under the deletion of common features with varying attractiveness: An examination of competing explanations



When necessary, marketers might delete common features of a promotional package that have also been deleted by competitors. This research examined two hypotheses of how the deletion of common features of varying attractiveness affects consumers' prior preferences. When participants were informed that a common feature of their available choices was unavailable, their preference decreased relatively for one alternative compared with another alternative. This effect was not contingent on the deleted feature's attractiveness. The findings reveal that the deletion of common features tends to motivate consumers to disregard the overall utility of the prior preferred option rather than to activate confirmatory reasoning for consolidating a previous choice. Thus, by deleting common features of a promotional package, marketers risk altering consumers' prior preferences and may lose their advantage over competitors. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.