Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In-store slack: Consumers often plan for unplanned purchases

07.05.2010
Straying from the grocery list can yield some surprises in your shopping cart, but not necessarily in your wallet, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers and a coresearcher from Baylor University who have coauthored a new study.

The researchers found that shoppers often expect to buy a certain number of unplanned items, and most have a fairly accurate estimate as to how much they will spend on them. The study's coauthors use the term “in-store slack” to describe the room shoppers leave in their budget for unplanned purchases.

Written by Jeffrey Inman, associate dean for research and faculty, Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing, and professor of business administration in Pitt's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business; Karen M. Stilley, postdoctoral fellow in the Katz School; and Kirk L. Wakefield, associate professor and chair of the marketing department at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, “Planning to Make Unplanned Purchases? The Role of In-Store Slack in Budget Deviation” will be published in the August issue of the “Journal of Consumer Research.”

The researchers conducted a field study at several grocery stores in Texas. Shoppers were asked what they intended to purchase, how much they expected to spend on the planned items, and how much they intended to spend total. After shopping, participants provided their receipts and answered questions about themselves and their purchases. More than 75 percent of the participants included room in their mental budgets for unplanned purchases.

“Shoppers in the study indicated that they employ this strategy both because they anticipate 'forgotten needs' as well as because they realize that they will encounter 'unplanned wants'-with some respondents even explicitly indicating that they expected to make impulse purchases,” the authors write. The shoppers were remarkably accurate when predicting how much they would spend. The average budget deviation (actual spending minus planned spending) was only 47 cents.

The impact of in-store slack on household budget deviation depended on how many aisles the shopper visited and the shoppers' level of impulsiveness. “Less impulsive individuals who shop most aisles tend to spend the money available from in-store slack but don't exceed their overall budgets. In contrast, in-store slack leads to overspending for highly impulsive individuals who shop most aisles,” the authors explain.

For retailers, this research suggests that consumers who shop only specific aisles are not spending all of the money that they are mentally prepared to spend on the current trip, according to the authors. “In addition to highlighting the importance of encouraging consumers to shop more aisles, this research also af¹rms practices that retailers employ to encourage consumers to spend all of their mental budgets, such as offering samples (increase desire) or reminder placards as they approach the checkout lines (cue forgotten needs).”

Finally, the researchers' mental budgeting perspective suggests that brands may be vying for a ¹xed amount of money that consumers have allocated to be spent on unplanned purchases. The fact that most consumers do not exceed their mental budgets despite making unplanned purchases suggests that different product categories function as substitutes (i.e., should I spend my in-store slack on ice cream or Parmesan cheese?). Therefore, the researchers believe future research should further examine whether in-store stimuli may simply serve to redirect what items consumers purchase rather than generate incremental spending.

“For the majority of consumers, having in-store slack appears to be a rational way to use the store to cue needs and preserve self-control,” the authors write, but caution that “highly impulsive individuals may want to consider planning as many specific purchases in advance as possible.”

Amanda Leff Ritchie | University of Pittsburgh
Further information:
http://www.pitt.edu

Further reports about: Baylor Business Vision Consumer Research Consumers In-store

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>