Individual differences in consumer responses to traditional versus virtual concept testing

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Journal article

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Journal of Product & Brand Management

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Consumer behaviour, tests and testing, Cognition, virtual concept testing, innovativeness, change seeking, cognitive effort, generalizability theory


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of innovativeness, change seeking and cognitive effort on consumer responses to traditional versus virtual testing environment. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical study collects concept evaluations of five heterogeneous consumer appliances, from 400 members of an online panel. Generalizability theory (hereafter G theory) is used to assess the psychometric quality of the evaluation data in different testing environments. Findings – The results show that subjects with high innovativeness and change seeking report significantly more favorable concept evaluations and generate better quality data. However, the effect of innovativeness on testing outcomes and data quality would be reduced in virtual testing environment. Practical implications – The results indicate that using firm or industry norms to interpret the testing outcome will be biased unless it accounts for whether the screening processes result in equally innovative or variety seeking samples of respondents. Originality/value – Managerially, the current results indicate that a product manager wanting to concept test a pool of appliance concepts can benefit from screening for the respondents, who will provide higher quality concept testing data in a traditional testing environment. However, the effects of traits on data quality are mitigated in a virtual testing environment. The findings provide a surprising insight that subject selection is not a more critical issue in virtual testing.



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Peng, L., Cui, G., & Li, C. (2012). Individual differences in consumer responses to traditional versus virtual concept testing. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 21(3), 167-175. doi: 10.1108/10610421211228784