Product Expertise: A Moderator of Information Search in Sequential Choice

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



People usually focus on just some of the available information when making decisions. This is especially true for experts, which has implications for how firms should provide product relevant information to consumers. To determine the extent to which the sequential acquisition of product-attribute information is moderated by expertise, a preferential choice task for a consumer product (cameras) was studied. When information about alternatives is acquired sequentially, a decision must be made as to when to stop acquiring additional information and commit to a course of action. The stopping strategies of more expert consumers were found to differ from those of novices in two noteworthy aspects. First, experts were more directed in their search strategies, making greater use of certain core product attributes when selecting a brand. Second, they were more successful in rejecting undesirable alternatives. Because expert and novice consumers evidently search not only for different information, but in different orders and in different quantities, there are important implications for practice. One is that producers and retailers should be prepared to provide tailored information to different segments of consumers. Another is that limiting the amount of information readily accessed by less-experienced consumers may increase their confidence, and thus their satisfaction.


This article was originally published in Marketing Management Journal. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Marketing Management Journal


Copyright © 2011, The Marketing Management Association