Choice based Conjoint
Choice based Conjoint (CBC) is a research technique based on the observation that consumers always choose products among a set of products in the marketplace, and a simulation of it is the closest to the real consumer behaviour. CBC is a technique wherein the respondent is shown a set of concepts (with specifications) and is asked for his/her preferences. This technique hopes to simulate the tradeoffs that consumers make in their daily buying experiences; the tradeoffs could be among the attributes of the product or among the products and brands listed. This technique is generally used to understand the interaction among the attributes, and for pricing studies.
One needs to list down the attributes and the levels for each of the attribute. For example, to conduct a CBC to understand the importance of the features of a smartphone; an example of an attribute could be “RAM Size” and the levels could be 512MB, 1GB, 2GB or whatever options you would like to present to your consumers. The options should be as close to the actual product as possible and the attributes and the levels should be given an extra-ordinary amount of thought. CBC should ideally be done on a sample of around 300-600 respondents who are aware of the products and the category.
One of the issues I faced while deciding on the attributes and the levels is that it is a little on the easier side for a very functional product like a smartphone or a car, where you can easily distinguish between different engines or processors, (different features like power steering, windows, etc…). The features and levels in functional products are easily distinguishable and conceivable. On the other hand, for products such as biscuits, toothpastes, sanitary napkins, etc. I am not sure how well people can distinguish and conceive different product benefits in such categories where you know the product only by experiencing it.
History of CBC
Limitations of CBC
- Not all brands are equally known to the consumers, and there is a risk of popular brands mostly being preferred in a CBC study.
- CBC doesn’t take promotions and distribution into consideration, and it assumes that all brands are available and have enough media spends.
- It assumes that the consumer has the ability to buy the product.
- The number of questions involving different choice sets could easily increase, causing respondent fatigue.
Brand Price Trade Off
BPTO is a simpler version of a conjoint analysis where a set of brand/price combinations are shown to the respondent. As the respondent choses a particular brand, the price of that particular brand is increased and the consumer is again asked to choose among the new set of brand/price combinations. This technique helps us understand how the consumer trades off the brand and price, and what is the best price point or price band for your product.
The one biggest advantage of this method is its simplicity, while it has quite a few critics in the market. One of the disadvantages of BPTO is that consumers may become conscious and may start playing around with the lowest price, or consumers may be protective of their brand and may always prefer a brand and take it to unrealistic pricing levels.
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