Feature Complementarity and Large Assortments: Role of Feature Complementarity in Developing Product Assortment

Abstract

Companies developing new products must consider feature complementarity of the assortment as it plays a crucial role in consumers’ preference and evaluation of options they finally choose. Consumers derive more utility when feature sofa ssort mentare complementary than in an assortment with noncomplementary features. When options in the assortment have complementary features, it leads to more trade-offs and the choice process becomes
difficult, which may lead to choice overload for larger assortments. Feature complementarity studies in the past have found the presence of choice overload even at 5 options as a large assortment size, which is very low as compared to extant choice overload studies.
Past studies have used the mean of 27.8 options for a large assortment and 5.4 options for a small assortment. It is important to know what would
happen for an assortment size larger than five and whether choice overload would stagnate or increase further. The present study tests the role of feature complementarity as a moderating variable to choice overload effect. Results found a significant increase in the mean regret scores for assortments with complementary features when the assortment size increased to 24 options and found support for feature complementarity as a moderating variable for choice overload. This study contributes to the existing choice overload and product development literature.

Key Words: Feature complementarity; choice overload; product design; assortment choice

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