Maximization orientation represents consumers’ tendency to pursue the ‘best possible’ option as opposed to a ‘good enough’ option, which is acceptable for satisficers. Maximizers tend to experience greater regret over their choices than satisficers. Research to date has yet to show how the negative state of regret can be reduced for maximizers.
We examine construal level theory (CLT) in conjunction with the choice context (comparable and noncomparable choices). Three experimental studies tested our assertion that a match between CLT mindset and choice set relieves regret for maximizers.
We show maximizers experience similar levels of regret compared to satisficers, when considering comparable options in a concrete mindset, and noncomparable options in an abstract mindset. However, maximizers experience heightened regret in comparison to satisficers when considering noncomparable (comparable) options in a concrete (abstract) mindset. Choice difficulty mediates our effect.
Future research is needed to replicate our results in real-life settings.
If marketers think that their product is likely to be compared with other comparable products, they should adopt product-specific information that focuses on how the product would be used. However, if marketers think that consumers will compare across noncomparable products, then they should focus on why their product is the most suitable to fulfil consumers’ needs.
This research represents the first attempt at reducing regret for maximizers and answers the call for an examination of the relationship between maximization and CLT. Our research adds to the maximization literature by evidencing a CLT-based strategy that attenuates the negative experience of regret for maximizers.