The Power of Beauty: Leveraging on Deep Learning to Disentangle the Effect of Image Aesthetics on Online Purchase

Xiaohui Liu, Yijing Li, Eric T.K. Lim, Yong Liu, Chee-Wee Tan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Visuals have been deemed as one of the primary marketing formats in service e-tailing environ-ments to compensate for the abstract and intangible nature of services. Yet, despite the overwhelm-ing empirical evidence attesting to the importance of aesthetics in product and website designs, there is a dearth of research on how the beauty of images depicting service offerings could affect consumers’ behaviour. Subscribing to Stimuli-Organism-Response (S-O-R) framework, we attempt to elucidate the power of aesthetics in shaping consumers’ cognitive and emotional responses when they are exposed to the portal image of a service offering. Additionally, we endeavour to explore the heterogeneity of consumers’ responses or their centrality of visual aesthetics, to such images. Blending computer vision and deep learning techniques, we advance a computable and decomposable aesthetic assessment method for scoring the aesthetics of portal images belonging to more than 299,000 local service offerings on a leading Chinese group buying site. We then em-ploy Propensity Score Matching (PSM) to yield initial evidence demonstrating that aesthetics ex-erts significant effects on the online sales of services.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECIS 2019 Proceedings
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781733632508
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event27th European Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems for a Sharing Society, ECIS 2019: Information Systems for a Sharing Society - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 8 Jun 201914 Jun 2019
Conference number: 27


Conference27th European Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems for a Sharing Society, ECIS 2019
LocationStockholm University
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Image aesthetics
  • Service e-tailing
  • S-O-R framework
  • Deep learning

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