Can Automated Group Recommender Systems Help Consumers Make Better Choices?

Hennig-Thurau, Thorsten; Marchand, André; Marx, Paul
September 2012
Journal of Marketing;Sep2012, Vol. 76 Issue 5, p89
Academic Journal
Because hedonic products consist predominantly of experience attributes, often with many available alternatives, choosing the "right" one is a demanding task for consumers. Decision making becomes even more difficult when a group, instead of an individual consumer, will consume the product, as is regularly the case for hedonic offerings such as movies, opera performances, and wine. Noting the prevalence of automated recommender systems as decision aids, the authors investigate the power of group recommender systems that consider the preferences of all group members. The authors develop a conceptual framework of the effects of group recommenders and empirically examine these effects through two choice experiments. They find that automated group recommenders offer more valuable information than single recommenders when the choice agent must consume the recommended alternative. However, when agents choose freely among alternatives, the group's social relationship quality determines whether group recommenders actually create higher group value. Finally, group recommenders outperform decision making without automated recommendations if the agent's intention to use the systems is high. A decision tree model of recommender usage offers guidance to hedonic product managers.


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