Not-so Easy Listening: How Listening to Options Affects Product Choice and Evaluation

"Not-so Easy Listening: How Listening to Options Affects Product Choice and Evaluation," by Kurt Munz and Vicki Morwitz. Under review.

  2023 Bocconi Junior Research Grant

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New technologies like voice assistants have the potential to change the landscape of shopping, but despite optimistic forecasts, voice shopping has not seen the expected growth. This research investigates why consumers might find it challenging to make judgments and decisions based on auditory information compared to visual text. The results suggest that the difficulty arises when consumers need to make comparisons, as listening to speech requires holding more information in memory for this task. This difficulty can lead to a higher reliance on easily understandable information (high-evaluability information) when listening to speech (e.g., a recommendation or a “like new” product description), but it can also result in lower overall purchase rates. To address this issue, a strategy to improve the customer experience when voice shopping by reducing memory load was tested on voice speakers in consumers’ homes, resulting in higher purchase intentions.