WSU marketing professor publishes on "sustainable choices" in prestigious retail journal

Andrea Tangari, assistant professor of marketing in the Wayne State University School of Business, has just had her second article accepted by the Journal of Retailing. Tangari's latest article, titled "Now that's a Bright Idea: The Influence of Consumer Elaboration and Distance Perceptions on Sustainable Choice," focuses on the consumer’s decision making when it comes to buying energy-efficient products.

"Where I first got the idea for the paper was from going out shopping," Tangari said. "As a consumer I noticed when I went out shopping for things such as light bulbs, you would see on the packages that you could save so much over 5 years of the light bulb." She began to wonder if consumers could really process the notion of energy savings over time and began her research.

Tangari's research focused specifically on the effectiveness of energy saving messages. "I took different energy-efficient products and basically changed the message," she said. "The message on one says 'Now or very soon, you can start saving money on your electricity bills by using this product.' Another one might say 'Over a year or three years, you can start saving money by using this product.'"

The results showed that short-term focused consumers were more likely to choose the "save now" option, whereas long-term focused consumers liked both options.

Tangari's overall goal was to help retailers market sustainable and energy-efficient products more effectively. "They should focus more on trying to get people to see the immediate benefits of using the product," she said. Tangari said she wants this article to persuade retailers to make energy-efficient products more prominent in stores so "that people who may not be seeking out these types of products will see them."

You can read the complete abstract below.



Integrating theory related to psychological distance and elaboration on potential outcomes, hypotheses are offered that predict that consumers' elaboration levels moderate the effect of temporal distance on choice of energy efficient products. In three experiments, the authors examine the influence of temporal and psychological distance and the moderating effect of a consumer's propensity to elaborate on potential outcomes (EPO) in retail choice-based situations. Results support these predictions with consumers lower in elaboration more likely to choose an energy efficient product when perceived distance is proximal versus distal, while the distance effect has less of an influence on consumers prone to higher elaboration. We test the effect of distance perceptions within a retail lab environment, as well as across ad and retail contexts. These results will help marketers more effectively promote products in ad versus retail-based contexts and across different consumer groups. Findings offer implications for theory, retailers, product marketers, and NGO’s interested in promoting energy efficient choices.

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