Essays on the influence of product design on consumer behaviour

Visentin, Matteo (2016) Essays on the influence of product design on consumer behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School.


At a conceptual level this dissertation investigates how product design affects consumer judgment and decision-making. Drawing from my experience as a designer, I saw the opportunity to contribute to the marketing literature on new product development with a simple yet important observation: design is both a verb and a noun. In the first essay, I treat design as a verb and I look at the effect of communicating elements of the design process to consumers. Specifically I focus on communicating customer orientation as a design process - the practice of designing products incorporating customers' insights. I demonstrate how communicating customer orientation increases consumers' sense of power towards the company. Although prior marketing literature suggests that communicating customer orientation bears only positive effects for the firm, I found unanticipated effects at the consumers' product evaluation level. Specifically I show how communicating customer orientation can lead consumers to be more reliant on stereotype information when evaluating a product. In the second essay, design is treated as a noun and I focus on how observable product characteristics like aesthetic, functional and symbolic values influence consumer's choice. Particularly I present evidence showing how ergonomic design features affect consumers' choice overload in large product assortments. Although ergonomically superior design characteristics objectively offer greater value at the moment of use, their presence can be detrimental to consumers at the moment of purchase. By implementing small design changes within an assortment of test products, I demonstrate that ergonomically superior designs cause choice overload to a greater extent than ergonomically inferior designs. This is due to the fact that ergonomically superior designs increase choice effort for decision makers at the point of purchase. These two essays add to the literature on new product development and deepen the understanding of how product design affects consumer judgment and decision-making.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Marketing
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 16:11
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Feb 2022
Subjects: Consumer behaviour
Product design
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2022 05:40

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