Cherry Picking: The Weapon of Choice for Price-conscious Consumers

A quick follow up to our ongoing retail discussions on discounting and shopping: Knowledge@Wharton, a publication of the Wharton School of Business, referenced an interesting paper: Cherry Picking: The Weapon of Choice for Price-conscious Consumers.

Obligatory excerpt:

“Do cherry pickers – those consumers who are extremely sensitive to price and go from store to store to pick the best-priced items and leave the rest – really save a lot of money? A recent paper by Wharton marketing professor Stephen J. Hoch and Edward J. Fox, a marketing professor at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, found that consumers not only save money but that the savings are enough to offset the time it takes to do the extra shopping. In addition, the researchers found, a substantial number of shoppers exist who are savvy and diligent enough to make cherry picking pay off.

“What we discovered was a big surprise to me,” says Hoch, noting that more than a few marketing experts and consumers consider cherry picking a “perverse” kind of shopping behavior and doubt that all the effort required to be a consummate cherry picker is economically worthwhile.

According to Hoch, the findings hold implications for retailers who are the targets of cherry pickers: Don’t fight cherry-picking and risk alienating customers; instead, try to entice cherry pickers into buying higher-margin items.”

Cherry Picking: The Weapon of Choice for Price-conscious Consumers


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