Not-so Easy Listening: Roots and Repercussions of Auditory Choice Difficulty in Voice Commerce

Kurt Munz and Vicki Morwitz

Job market paper

In the context of voice commerce, six experiments demonstrate that information presented by voice is more difficult to process than the same information presented in writing. This processing difficulty stems from greater difficulty comparing auditory options compared to visually presented options. Consequently, consumers are less able to differentiate between auditory choice options, leading them to choose recommended items more often, but also to defer choice at higher rates compared to when the options are presented visually. It also leads to an attenuation of joint versus separate preference reversals when the items are presented by voice, as auditory evaluations are less affected by comparisons to other items in the choice set. Difficulty making auditory comparisons also negatively affects evaluations of a single item when comparing it against a reference held in memory, a very likely scenario in the marketplace. This research represents one of the first explorations of voice commerce and offers insight for both theory and application.

  2018 Center for Global Economy and Business Grant