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 Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>