CBSIG Special Session at the 2023 Winter AMA

CBSIG has an exciting special session planned in Nashville this weekend – we hope you’ll join us! And check out the conference program for additional CB content:

Examining Both Classic and Emerging Consumer Appeals and Beliefs
3:30-4:45 pm on Sat., Feb. 11th
Chair: Kelly Haws (Vanderbilt University)

Can Environmental Messaging Reduce Product Returns?
Presenter: Aaron Brough (Utah State University)
Authors: Aaron Brough (Utah State University) and Ryan Hamilton (Emory University)

Many consumers have come to expect that the process of returning a product will be free and easy, and product returns are increasingly common–last year, approximately one in six items purchased in the U.S. was ultimately returned. A high rate of product returns is problematic for two reasons. First, product returns harm the environment; they involve additional energy and resource consumption as returned products are repackaged and transported, and many returned products end up in a landfill. Second, returns place a heavy financial burden on retailers; paying for return shipping, inspection, restocking, reselling, and reshipping quickly erodes profit margins and may even create a net loss, especially when a returned product cannot be resold. In this research, we propose eco-messaging (reminding consumers of the environmental impact of their decisions) as an inexpensive but effective method of reducing return rates. We provide evidence that eco-messaging creates anticipated guilt by making salient environmental costs that might otherwise be neglected. We further show that eco-messaging may be more effective among liberals than conservatives. These findings can help retailers improve profit margins and have important implications for fighting climate change.

To Err Is (Not) Human: Examining Beliefs about Errors Made by Artificial Intelligence
Presenter: Brianna Escoe (Vanderbilt University)
Authors: Brianna Escoe (Vanderbilt University), Noah Van Bergen (University of Cincinnati), and Caglar Irmak (University of Miami)

What lay beliefs guide consumers’ interactions with computers and artificial intelligence? To date, little work directly investigates consumer beliefs about how artificial intelligence (AI) operates, such as beliefs about how AI avoids (or commits) errors. The current work explores the psychological underpinnings of algorithm aversion and introduces a novel explanation for the phenomenon: Consumers are reluctant to adopt AI because they believe that when AI errs, a high-magnitude error is just as likely as a low-magnitude error. That is, unlike humans, who work particularly hard to minimize the frequency of consequential errors, consumers believe that AI cannot differentiate error magnitude, making consequential errors seem more likely from AI service providers than human service providers—despite the fact that consumers also believe AI commits fewer total errors than humans. Five studies document the existence of these lay beliefs and their impact on consumer preferences for AI: In circumstances where consequential errors are a concern, consumers display algorithm aversion. However, when consequential errors are less relevant, algorithm aversion attenuates, and even reverses when adopting AI offers another relevant benefit (e.g., fewer minor errors). The authors also discuss the theoretical contributions and practical implications of their conceptualization and findings.

Examining the Efficacy of Time Scarcity Marketing Promotions in Online Retail
Presenter: Kelly Goldsmtih (Vanderbilt University)
Authors: Jillian Hmurovic (Drexel University), Cait Lamberton (University of Pennsylvania), and Kelly Goldsmith (Vanderbilt University)

Time scarcity promotions (e.g., “40% off for a limited time”) are mainstays of online retail marketing. Although positive effects of time scarcity promotions on consumer interest have been evidenced in the brick-and-mortar world, should retailers expect similarly robust effects online? The present research suggests the answer may be no. First, the authors report meta-analytic and experimental results suggesting that previously identified positive effects of time scarcity promotions observed offline may not emerge in online shopping contexts. Then, consistent with the prediction that online time scarcity promotions activate more persuasion knowledge than identical control promotions, the authors detail findings suggesting that providing retailer-exogeneous justifications for online time scarcity promotions’ time restriction (e.g., consumers’ birthdays, seasonal changes) can increase the potential of observing positive effects on consumer interest online. Further, results suggest that the positive effects of including exogenous time justification may be more likely when less time remains until the online promotion’s expiration. However, results stop short of suggesting that online time scarcity promotions will consistently yield superior outcomes compared with identical online control promotions. Therefore, the authors highlight the continued need for careful managerial use as well as further research examining the optimal translation of offline tactics to online retail.

Warmth and Competence Stereotypes in Marketing: A Meta-Analytical Investigation
Presenter: Alex Belli (The University of Adelaide)
Authors: Anne-Maree O’Rourke (The University of Queensland), Alex Belli (The University of Adelaide), Mansur Khamitov (Indiana University), and Georgios Halkias (Copenhagen Business School)

The Stereotype Content Model has been widely and increasingly applied in marketing; yet it is unclear under what conditions its two dimensions of warmth and competence are more effective for consumer outcomes. We address this by testing four moderator categories (consumer outcome type, object characteristics, context, and delivery) in large-scale meta-regressions (k=1,166; 86,291 respondents; 22 countries represented). We meta-analytically demonstrate that both warmth and competence generally have a favorable medium-sized effect, but more importantly, we show that some notable differences are observed in our moderators. Namely, warmth is more effective in changing attitudes than behaviors, whilst the impact of competence is higher in driving behaviors than attitudes. Warmth seems to be particularly effective with regards to luxury products, objects with search attributes, prosocial and political contexts. On the other hand, competence shows stronger effects for foreign brands, those consumed in public, and contexts related to service failure/brand crisis. Implications for both scholars and practitioners are discussed.