Consumer choice research recently moved beyond brand-based decisions to study the more noncomparable choices consumers often face. Noncomparable choice processing in choices involving multiple products is discussed. In Experiment 1, consumers used attribute-based processing at an abstract level and alternative-based processing at a concrete level to evaluate more noncomparable alternatives independent of choice set size. In Experiment 2, the choices from Experiment 1 were compared with choices within which products varied in comparability. The results suggest that comparability variance within a multialternative choice set facilitates consumers' use of product categories and hierarchical processing to eliminate choice alternatives.
Johnson, M. D. (1988). Comparability and hierarchical processing in multialternative choice [Electronic version]. Journal of Consumer Research, 15(3), 303-314. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Hospitality Administration site: http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/428/