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Consumers' evaluation of free service trial offers

Laochumnanvanit, Krongjit and Bednall, David H. B. 2005, Consumers' evaluation of free service trial offers, Academy of marketing science review, vol. 11, pp. 1-13.

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Title Consumers' evaluation of free service trial offers
Author(s) Laochumnanvanit, Krongjit
Bednall, David H. B.
Journal name Academy of marketing science review
Volume number 11
Start page 1
End page 13
Publisher Academy of Marketing Science
Place of publication Vancouver, Canada
Publication date 2005
ISSN 1526-1794
Keyword(s) service trial
inequitable exchange
attribution theory
service quality
risk perception
Summary Largely unexplored, a free service trial may be defined as an offer to the consumer to experience, at no monetary cost, all or part of a core, augmented or facilitating service from a provider that the consumer does not currently use. Free service trials are worth studying for two reasons. First they are one of the important examples of inequitable exchange between supplier and purchaser – one that is likely to lead to a sense of obligation among those who adopt the trial offer. Second, they are a very common promotional device. This paper proposes that free service trials are more problematic than tangible product trials. The value of what is offered may be limited by time, the scope of trial, or because only a partial, facilitating or augmented service is offered. Judgments about the perceived value of the complete service in its paid form will also contribute to the evaluation of the trial offer. In deciding whether they accept the trial, the paper proposes that consumers make attributions about the motives of the service trial provider and the consumer’s consequent obligations if they accept it. Obligations are likely to be felt more acutely where the trial is interpersonal (e.g. a facial massage) rather than impersonal (e.g. anti-virus service). Such evaluations are also likely to be affected by past experience with the service category, consumer skepticism and personal norms of reciprocity. A program of research is proposed which would systematically examine the consumers’ evaluations of free trial offers.
Notes Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 150599 Marketing not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Academy of Marketing Science
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008898

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Management and Marketing
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