Assortment Diversity as an Expertise Signal
To portray themselves as experts, consumers often choose unique, rare, or sophisticated options. But might the mere level of assortment diversity chosen also serve as a signal of expertise, and if so, how? Three experiments show that the relationship between assortment diversity and perceived expertise depends on the perceiver’s own level of expertise. Category experts perceive less assortment diversity as an indication of greater expertise in that category, and consequently choose less varied assortments to portray themselves as experts. In contrast, novices perceive more assortment diversity as an indication of expertise, and choose accordingly when they wish to appear as experts.
Maimaran, Michal, Aner Sela and Sian Morgan. 2017. Assortment Diversity as an Expertise Signal.