Digital Nudging towards Acceptance of Defaults in Product Configuration

Kathrin Figl, Ines Zollitsch, Christiane Lehrer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Online product configurators allow customers to create highly customized products. However, their design strongly affects users’ decision-making. This paper explores the relationship between the order of product attribute decisions and customers’ choice of default options. Using a fully randomized experiment with 596 participants, we found that defaults are selected more often when the configuration process starts with a high number of selection options, which was hypothesized to deplete cognitive resources. An order with a decreasing number of options also led to lower perceived choice difficulty and higher choice satisfaction. Based on a recency effect, the last easy decisions in the configuration seem to most strongly influence the overall impression and also reduced skepticism towards defaults. Thus, customers seemed unaware of how cognitive depletion could “nudge” them towards choosing defaults. This study contributes to digital nudging research and provides guidance to practitioners for implementing less effortful product configuration decisions “by design.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42nd International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
EditorsAnitesh Barua, Ryan Wright, Atreyi Kankanhalli, Xitong Li, Shaila Miranda
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2021
Article number2099
ISBN (Electronic)9781733632591
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021: Building Sustainability and Resilience With is: A Call for Action - Austin, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202115 Dec 2021
Conference number: 42


ConferenceThe 42nd International Conference on Information Systems: ICIS 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems


  • Product configuration
  • Digital nudging
  • Defaults
  • Cognitive depletion
  • Experiment

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