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Emphasizing lower sales prices may hint at lower quality for some consumers, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While sale prices may attract many consumers to products, for others, they may denote lower quality, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by Vanderbilt University marketing professor Steve Posavac and others, and set for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that consumers use a series of theories when considering the relationship between value and price.

"In the case of price, most people simultaneously believe that low prices mean good value and that low prices mean low quality," Posavac said. "But these two beliefs are not equally present in consumers’ minds all the time."

In one experiment, consumers were shown an advertisement for a bottle of wine with either a high or low price. When subtly reminded of the wine’s quality, they gave a more favorable opinion of the expensive wine than the cheap one, but they rated the cheap wine more favorably when subtly reminded of value. The researchers found that because consumers use "naive theories" when analyzing a product, a company’s subtle marketing tactics toward price or quality may attract one consumer while alienating another.

"Consumers rarely have complete information and use various strategies to fill the gaps in their knowledge as they consider and choose products," Posavac and coauthors Helene Deval, Susan Mantel and Frank Kardes write in the study. "One of these strategies involves using naive theories: informal, common sense explanations that consumers use to make sense of their environment."

Posavac used J.C. Penney as an example of how sales promotions can succeed when consumers perceive that they are getting a good deal, but can backfire if they perceive that the lower prices they pay indicate lower quality.

"A company may implement an everyday low-pricing strategy that manages to reduce brand value and alienate consumers if many of them believe that low prices equal low quality," Posavac said. "Over the years, J.C. Penney customers had become so used to sales that they no longer believed they were getting a good deal."

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NPs vote to form new national membership organization

BY Antoinette Alexander

AUSTIN, Texas — The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners announced that they are moving forward with plans to consolidate effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The combined organization will be known as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or AANP. With approximately 40,000 members, AANP will serve as the largest professional membership organization in the country for nurse practitioners of all specialties.

Leaders from both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners will play key roles in governing the new organization.  As of Nov. 19, David Hebert, who has been CEO of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, began serving as CEO of AANP. Angela Golden, currently serving as president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, will retain her position through June 2013. Ken Miller, currently the American College of Nurse Practitioners’ president-elect, will become the co-president with Golden at the AANP conference in June 2013.

The consolidation comes at a time when fewer physicians are pursuing primary care medicine and nurse practitioners are playing an increasingly critical role in providing access to primary, acute and specialty care. This is even more urgent with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act moving forward, adding 30 million Americans to the rolls of the insured.

By consolidating, the new AANP is striving to add a strong, unified voice to the growing movement working to ensure nurse practitioners can practice to their fullest potential.

"The nurse practitioner community has made it clear that they support this alliance and share our vision for one entity that represents the very best of what we have to offer as health care providers," stated Angela Golden, current president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. "Coming together better serves our members and benefits our patients who need nurse practitioners now more than ever."

"Today’s health care environment demands more efficiency and innovation as we look to control costs and improve outcomes," stated Jill Olmstead, president of the American College of Nurse Practitioners. "This consolidation exemplifies how collaboration and future-forward thinking can bring about positive changes across the health care spectrum."

 

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Stop & Shop raises huge donation to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

BY Alaric DeArment

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Stop & Shop donated more than $250,000 to the American Cancer Society to support breast cancer research, education and awareness in October, the supermarket chain announced Tuesday.

The company said it donated 5 cents for every pink reusable shopping bag sold through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for a total of more than $8,400. Customers and employees also raised more than $182,000 to support "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walks on Long Island and Point Pleasant, N.Y., and Providence, R.I. Meanwhile, partnerships with the chain’s private label, General Mills and Proctor & Gamble donated $67,000.

"Stop & Shop is extremely proud of the generosity from our customers and associates to support breast cancer awareness," Stop & Shop New England division spokeswoman Suzi Robinson said. "Breast cancer affects so many lives, and we are overwhelmed by the spirit of everyone who came together once again to make a difference."


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