Consumer responses to free service trial offers

Bednall, David, Laochumnanvanit, Krongjit and Oppewal, Harmen 2007, Consumer responses to free service trial offers, in INFORMS 2007 : Marketing Science Conference, Singapore Management University, Singapore, pp. 80-80.


Title Consumer responses to free service trial offers
Author(s) Bednall, David
Laochumnanvanit, Krongjit
Oppewal, Harmen
Conference name Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences. Conference (2007 : Singapore)
Conference location Singapore
Conference dates 28 June-30 June 2007
Title of proceedings INFORMS 2007 : Marketing Science Conference
Publication date 2007
Start page 80
End page 80
Publisher Singapore Management University
Place of publication Singapore
Summary Consumers find it difficult to evaluate services they have not previously used, especially where these services have high experience or credence properties (Mittal 2002, 2004). A frequent promotional strategy used by marketers is to offer a free trial, such as a free brake check on cars or a free session at a new gym. While there is extensive literature on product trials, very little research has been conducted on free service trial offers. This led the researchers to undertake preliminary content analysis and qualitative interviews and ultimately to develop a comprehensive model of consumer evaluations of these offers. The model takes account of the type of service on offer, the manner in which it is offered and the pricing mechanism used (free versus discounted). It also characterizes the cognitive and emotional evaluations consumers make in response to these offers and how these contribute to trial and purchase propensity. Individual characteristics of consumers, such as deal proneness, were also incorporated into the model. The current study reports an experiment where the model was systematically tested among groups of male and female consumers (in total 400) who varied by age group and service experience. The research indicated that a free trial offer operated rather differently from a discount, inducing a sense of obligation which motivated some people to adopt the trial and subsequent full service offer. Traditional trial-cognition-evaluation models (e.g. Smith and Swinyard, 1983) are not sufficient to explain the phenomena uncovered by this research.
Language eng
Field of Research 150599 Marketing not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
HERDC Research category L3 Extract of paper (minor conferences)
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30015897

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Management and Marketing
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