The rate of consumption can be decreased by physically partitioning resources into smaller units, for example cookies wrapped individually or money divided into several envelopes. When a resource is divided into smaller units (e.g. several packs of chips), consumers encounter additional decision points—a psychological hurdle encouraging them to stop and think. In addition to the cost incurred when resources are used, opening a partitioned pool of resources incurs a psychological transgression cost, such as feelings of guilt (Cheema & Soman, 2008). Related research has found that separate mental payment accounts (i.e. envelopes with money) can disrupt a shopping momentum effect that may occur after an initial purchase (Dhar, Huber, & Khan, 2007). (For related ideas, see also mental accounting).

 

Cheema, A., & Soman, D. (2008). The effect of partitions on controlling consumption. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(6), 665-675.

Dhar, R., Huber, J., & Khan, U. (2007). The shopping momentum effect. Journal of Marketing Research, 44, 370-378.

 

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