How consumers value transactions that entail using windfall money to offset missed price discounts


European Journal of Marketing

2014, vol. 48, n°5/6, pp.1113-1132

Départements : Marketing

Mots clés : Judgment anomalies, Opportunity loss, Transaction utility, Windfall gains

Purpose– The purpose of this study is to examine if consumers, after missing a price discount on a desired product, prefer to buy the latter at a smaller discount or prefer to pay full price but offset some of it with windfall money.Design/methodology/approach– In four experiments, participants imagine that they have missed an opportunity to buy a box of chocolates at $50 off and are offered a second chance to buy them at a less attractive discount ($25) or pay full price, but partially offset the full price with various windfall lotteries ($25, $50, $75) and gift cards ($50).Findings– Participants are more likely to buy the chocolates at the less attractive (second) discount rather than pay full price using windfall money. In doing so, they show that they are willing to be more, rather than less, poor from an overall wealth perspective to acquire the chocolates. This anomaly surfaces irrespective of the windfall amounts or preference elicitation methods (joint versus separate evaluation). The negative transaction utility of paying full price mediates the purchase method effect (discount versus windfall) on purchase likelihood, but gift cards are able to reduce the negative transaction utility of paying full price.Originality/value– The research reveals a judgmental anomaly in how consumers assess product acquisition value following a lost opportunity and suggests that marketing managers may be able to reduce consumer inertia by strategically matching rewards with the source of the lost chance.