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Option Framing and Product Feature Recommendations: Product Configuration and Choice

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ABSTRACT

When configuring a customized product, consumers must decide which product features to include. While many times firms allow consumers to add features to a base item (hereinafter referred to as additive option framing), it is also possible in some settings to remove undesired features from a fully equipped product (subtractive option framing). At the same time, companies not only provide different option-framing formats, but also include recommendations from different sources such as what other customers have chosen previously or what is recommended by the company. This research provides evidence from two field experiments using a German car manufacturer's online configurator that customer recommendations in an additive option-framing format affect customer spending equally well as subtractive option framing. A follow-up experiment reveals that customer recommendations lead to increased positive thoughts about the recommended option, which stimulates consumers’ intention to buy the final product.

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