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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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The Impact of Add-On Features on Consumer Product Evaluations

Marco Bertini, Elie Ofek, Dan Ariely
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/596717 17-28 First published online: 1 June 2009


The research presented in this article provides evidence that add-on features sold to enhance a product can be more than just discretionary benefits. We argue that consumers draw inferences from the mere availability of add-ons, which in turn lead to significant changes in the perceived utility of the base good itself. Specifically, we propose that the improvements supplied by add-ons can be classified as either alignable or nonalignable and that they have opposing effects on evaluation. A set of four experiments with different product categories confirms this prediction. In addition, we show that the amount of product information available to consumers and expectations about product composition play important moderating roles. From a practical standpoint, these results highlight the need for firms to be mindful of the behavioral implications of making add-ons readily available in the marketplace.

  • Behavioral Decision Theory
  • Cognitive Processes
  • Inference Making
  • Product Design and Perceptions
  • Situation/Context Issues
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