How Many Versions of a Product Do Consumers Really Want?- HBR
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How Many Versions of a Product Do Consumers Really Want?- HBR
Consumers almost always tell researchers that they prefer to have many versions of a product from which to choose. But, in fact, consumers' perceptions of how many choices they prefer change depending on whether they intend to use an item for pleasure or to meet a functional need. (Think of a swimsuit desired for beachwear versus swimming laps.) For retailers, that difference has big implications for the problem of assortment - how many variations of a single product to offer. Consumers motivated by pleasure believe that what pleases them differs greatly from what pleases most other people. They will therefore prefer a large assortment. But when seeking to meet a utilitarian need with the same product, they are less inclined to see their preferences as being greatly different from those of other people. They will then be satisfied by a smaller assortment from which to choose.

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