Dynamic in-store decision making

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Sheehan, Daniel E.
Loughran Dommer, Sara
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Much of our current understanding of how consumers shop for goods and services is based on cross-sectional analyses of end-of-trip variables (e.g., basket composition, total spending) that has largely assumed purchase behavior is constant over the course of a shopping trip, however research has begun to demonstrate how an initial purchase can influence a subsequent purchase decision. This suggests shopping behavior may not only vary throughout a shopping trip, but rather is specifically influenced by when a purchase decision occurs within a shopping trip. I build on this foundation through two essays that show how and why a consumer’s in-store purchasing behavior is influenced by both the decisions they have made and the decisions they anticipate to make later. The first essay demonstrates that a consumer’s relative spending— the price of an item, relative to the prices of the other items in the same product category—evolves nonlinearly over a single shopping trip, and this pattern is distinct for budget and nonbudget shoppers. The second essay examines whether and how encountering promotions in-store, but temporally in advance of the promoted product influences a consumer’s redemption decision. These findings suggest that shoppers’ decisions evolve of a single shopping trip as a function of the decisions and evaluations the have made earlier in the shopping trip, as well the decisions they still have left to make. In each essay, implications for researchers and practitioners are presented and opportunities for future research are discussed.
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