Shop different : consumers' motivations for unplanned purchases
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Despite marketers’ interest in consumers’ motivations for in-store decision making, past research has treated all unplanned purchases as the same behavior. To address this research gap, this dissertation investigations consumers’ motivations for unplanned purchases. The introduction presents the definition and importance of the unplanned purchasing phenomenon before reviewing past research on in-store decision making and the significant remaining research questions. The first essay distinguishes between consumers’ intrinsic (i.e., internal) and extrinsic (i.e., instrumental) motivations for unplanned purchases and introduces a novel theory of sequential choice: in-store motivation balancing. This theory predicts that consumers’ motivations for unplanned purchases change over a shopping trip to reflect the balancing of intrinsic and extrinsic purchase motivations. A field study and two online shopping experiments that integrate the in-store path-to-purchase with consumers’ motivations provide evidence that consumer motivations are dynamic and impacted by a three-way interaction between the personality trait of buying impulsivity, trip progress, and budget focus. This theory extends the literature on motivation change during sequential choice to the in-store decision making domain. Importantly, the factors that influence purchase motivations address several unanswered questions in the literatures of impulse buying and self-control. Finally, the dynamics of in-store motivation provide insights for retailers and manufacturers to become more shopper-centric with their in-store merchandising and promotion tactics. The second essay investigates the moderating effect of consumers’ dynamic motivations for unplanned purchases on the effectiveness of in-store marketing. Based on motivation theory and the general fit literature, two field studies and two shopping experiments test the relationship between consumers’ intrinsic and extrinsic shopping motivations and three types of point-of-purchase messages (i.e., intrinsic motivation messages, non-price extrinsic motivation messages, and price-based messages). The results demonstrate that retailers frequently employ non-price in-store marketing, that in-store marketing is significantly related to shopping motivations, and that consumers are more likely to make an unplanned purchase from a display with in-store marketing that matches their dynamic shopping motivations. While the effectiveness of price-related retail promotion is well established in past research, this research is the first to investigate the effect of in-store marketing on the likelihood of an incremental unplanned purchase. From a managerial point-of-view, the results provide insights for how retailers and manufacturers can deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time using personalized in-store marketing tactics such as mobile applications and digital signage.