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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

When the First Is Not the Worst – How Personalized Starting Solutions Can Intensify the Default Effect

Published: May 27, 2020


Philipp Dieckmann, RWTH Aachen University; Daniel Wentzel, Chair of Marketing, RWTH Aachen University; Michael Mendl-Heinisch, RWTH Aachen University


product configurators; default effect; implicit endorsement


In this paper, we explore the advantages of a configuration framework featuring personalized starting solutions. Using a fictional configurator for desk chairs, it is experimentally investigated whether providing a starting solution seemingly based on customer preferences results in less deviation from the preselected options than an ordinary configuration process. Perceived endorsement is postulated as a mediator for the decreased deviation and as a cause for default effects in general. To test the general role of implicit endorsement for the default effect, a third configuration process, ostensibly providing a randomized starting configuration, is set up. This condition is expected to create a smaller default effect than an ordinarily presented starting configuration. Analyses demonstrate the hypothesized changes in the magnitude of the default effect. However, perceived endorsement could not be established as the underlying mechanism. Alternative explanations are discussed.