Gullible Consumers Easily Swayed By Meaningless Tech Specs

from the oooooh,-1.21-jigawatts!! dept

I imagine this won't come as a huge surprise to many of you, but it appears that we're all influenced by the presence of tech specs on a product -- even if those specs are somewhat meaningless. A variety of separate studies showed that people would usually purchase the product with "more" specs, even if they were meaningless. One of the tests even had people create their own tech specs based on their usage, and they were still more influenced by the specs than the actual usage. Apparently, we need to get busy adding more "tech specs" to our products around here...


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  1.  
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    Twinrova, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 4:00am

    Swayed?

    Swayed isn't the word I'd just. Specs are necessary, otherwise consumers couldn't tell the difference between products.

    Imagine a PC being sold, sitting next to a competitor. Without specs, one can't tell them apart?

    Now there are those people who swoon over the "best" when it comes to specs, but these people don't have a clue to realize their purchase becomes obsolete within a year. But hey, if they're willing to pay $1000 for a Blu-Ray player, so be it. I'm sure Samsung loves these types of consumers.

    They just don't like me. I wait for the price drops. I stopped buying "new" decades ago after being burned by Beta vs. VHS (I bought Beta, er, because of the specs).

     

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    Chunky Vomit, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 4:04am

    And to think I still get frustrated when a product doesn't list the specs that I like to know before buying a product.

     

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  3.  
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    Eric, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 5:42am

    Report doesn't say much

    The article didn't say the specs were meaningless, it just said that supposedly the consumer wasn't any happier with the product after they bought it. The article didn't say the product w/ the better specs wasn't a better product.

    Specs DO mean a lot, but also have to be taken into account w/ what you will be doing w/ the product. But we are also talking about regular consumers here, not consumers who research the products for months ahead of time before purchasing them. I did 3 months of research before buying my latest DSLR, and I didn't buy the one w/ the best specs. I bought the one w/ the specs that fit what I'd be doing w/ the camera.

    Most people buy a digital camera according to how large the Megapixels are, when it's actually the optics that really control how good the picture comes out. If you have 15 megapixels and lousy optics.. you're going to get a very large crappy picture. But to most uninformed consumers, bigger is better.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 5:58am

    Well here's the thing, when you are in a store as a retail person and you want to sell someone on an item you can get them to buy something if you take it out of the box and they hold it. How is this any different than them looking through a clear plastic container seeing the item? They have a feeling of ownership now. Detailed tech specs make people believe they really know the device deeper now. Sure a lot of tech-handicaped individuals might be swayed by "10% more pixie dust than our competing brands!" but without the specs it almost seems like the person selling the item is to LAZY to list out the specs. People typically don't want to buy from lazy/uncaring people even if that person would sell it cheaper. This is just a small facet of sales this article speaks about.

    Personaly I look at specs that would be worthless to most people, IE I am looking for less than 4ms response rate on my HD LCD TV so I can run computer games on it without seeing the screen shudder when you get up to the laggy 8ms and greater response speeds.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:22am

    Re: Swayed?

    Twinrova:
    Why do you always do this? You claim the article posted is wrong, then post exactly what the article is saying as a counter argument. Is English a second language, or are you running this through a translator?


    On topic:
    Not all "specs" are meaningful. Also, sometimes they get fudged. For example, in storage they tend to say things like "550GB" Hard Drives, even though they are 512 GB. They decide to make 1GB = 1000MB instead of 1024MB. Then people get angry when "their computer" only recognizes 512 GB.

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:38am

    I always tell people

    Never go into a store like Best Buy or CircuitCity without someone who knows what they are talking about and that you trust. The employees are just going to try and make a sale and so are the people who wrote the specs. It's like buying a car, they will snow you if they can.

     

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  7.  
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    Argonel, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Salesmen

    The old joke still appies.
    Q: How are computer salesmen different from used car salesmen?
    A: The car salemen know when they are lying.

     

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  8.  
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    duderino, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Re: I always tell people

    Agreed.

    I like to go into a best buy or wherever and look clueless when selecting hardware or whatever, then after I get them to say a few "specs" about the product, I then question them on the important things and they are all dumbfounded, i love it!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: I always tell people

    Wow, you are smarter than 16 year olds who make near minimum wage. Congratulations you are an a$$ wipe.

     

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  10.  
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    slimcat (profile), Dec 19th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    Google is your friend

    Nowadays, I think most folks do varying degrees of research, depending on cost, before buying certain products; especially in this economy.

    Some of the products in the article were kind of laughable: sesame oil - I look for 'Toasted'; bath towels - 100% cotton for me; I buy cameras and cell phones more by brand name than anything else.

     

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  11.  
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    nasch, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Re: Swayed?

    Plus, this isn't about computers. The study involved "digital cameras, towels, sesame oil, cell phones, and potato chips." Your towel is not going to be obsolete in a year, and you don't need numbers to tell it apart from the towel next to it. Yet, the specs (eg thread count) are still important to a shopper.

     

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  12.  
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    Spectere, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: I always tell people

    Wow, you are smarter than 16 year olds who make near minimum wage.


    Please. When I started working (at 16 and making minimum wage, no less) I made sure that I knew what the hell I was talking about and if I didn't know something, I found out rather than lying to the customer's face and calling it a night.

    There's no excuse for ignorance regardless of your age and income. Ever notice that the best workers, young and old, are the ones that know what they're doing and don't make excuses for their own failings? That's no coincidence, believe me.

     

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  13.  
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    Twinrova, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Swayed?

    "You claim the article posted is wrong."
    I did? Give me a second to re-read my post.

    Nope. Didn't say it was wrong. Just said I wouldn't have used the word "sway".

    But if you want me to conclude the statement: "Swayed isn't the word I'd use as 'Dupe" is much better."

    I just didn't want to open that can of worms.

     

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  14.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 19th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Huh

    Well, this explains Microsoft's packaging...

     

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  15.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 8:19am

    Now with ..

    Now with more cowbell!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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