Rapid advances in Internet commerce technology have brought about the emergence of comparison-shopping Websites, which act as agents to consolidate vast amounts of product information. Researchers have tradi- tionally focused on incorporating the latest database interrogation technology and investigating the economic implications of the existence of comparison-shopping Websites. Little attention has been paid to understanding whether the decision aids provided are capable of assisting a consumer in managing a large quantity of information or, more importantly, are compatible with the decision-making behavior of the consumer. This study surveys several successful comparison-shopping Websites, enumerates two comercially successful forms of decision aids (i.e., screening and sorting), and examines their effects on decision effectiveness under different information loads. Based on a 3×2×2 factorial controlled experiment, we had three major findings. First, more sophisticated screening aids that assist a consumer in filtering a large quantity of information do not necessarily improve decision effectiveness. Surprisingly, our results even suggest that in some circumstances the opposite could be true. Second, the results indicate that the effectiveness of decision aids, to a large extent, depends on the information load. Third, decision makers are adaptive. One may supplement the absence of more sophisticated screening aids with the sorting aid.
Tan, Chuan-Hoo, "Comparison-Shopping Websites: An Empirical Investigation on the Influence of Decision Aids and Information Load on Consumer Decision-Making Behavior" (2003). ICIS 2003 Proceedings. 1.