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The influence of product appearance on perceived product quality in reference to washing machines

Veyisoğlu, Ahmet Burak
Product quality is regarded as one of the most important factors that consumers consider while purchasing products. However, contrary to objective quality, perceived product quality includes consumer's judgment about the overall superiority or excellence of a product. This study mainly concentrates on the relationship between product appearance and perceived product quality especially for durable goods. The definitions of product quality and perceived product quality are reviewed to explain different dimensions of perceived product quality. Product appearance and the importance of product appearance are explained to reveal the relationship between the consumer and the appearance of the product. Four types of information communicated through the appearance are revealed: aesthetic information, symbolic information, functional information and ergonomic information. In the field study, how these four types of information communicated by the product appearance influence the consumers’ quality perception is questioned through a quantitative study. Conducted with 100 participants, the results of the questionnaire shows that the appearance influences quality perception in various stages of consumer/product context for durable goods. At the end of the study, it is observed that aesthetic, functional and ergonomic information directly influence consumer’s quality perception; wheras, the influence of symbolic information on the perceived quality is found to be limited and indirect.