Pre-Store Advertising’s Effect on Consumer Decision-Making: An Eye Tracking Experiment

Suzanne Laura Strübing

Student thesis: Master thesis


Lately findings from fields such as psychology and neuroscience have spilled over to consumer behavior and classic marketing theory offering valuable new insights and approaches (Dijksterhuis, Smith et al. 2005, Fitzisimons, Chartrand et al. 2008, Wedel, Pieters 2008, Plassmann, Ramsøy et al. 2012, Yoon, Gonzalez et al. 2012). This study aspires to contribute to recent developments by theoretically reflecting and experimentally investigating parts of the complex consumer decisionmaking process. Consolidating aspects of these different theoretical approaches, an integrated model is developed. The study will focus especially on the influences of out-of-store and in-store marketing during spontaneous purchase decision situations. From a managerial perspective, investigating the interplay of these different marketing vehicles seems very relevant due to companies’ continuous spending on shopper marketing paired with ever-increasing competition. The cosmetics industry has proved to be especially innovative concerning POS design (Gannaway 2001) and sets itself apart through a unique shelf-design allowing for much control on the side of the manufacturer. Therefore, when investigating the question how pre-store advertising in the form of coherent print ads and TVCs influences the target group’s visual attention and cognitive evaluation to in-store advertising at the POS, the focus product itself and the brand in general, this study will focus on the specific case of the German brand Maybelline Jade and its lipstick SuperStay 14H. A laboratory stationary eye tracking experiment was conducted on 30 female German participants and complemented with an elaborate post-test online survey. Exposure to pre-store advertising increased theoretical purchase intentions, whereas it decreased actual purchases and did not affect shopping motivation. It broadened visual exploration at the POS shelf, but had only marginal effects on other visual attention measures. Pre-store advertising did not have any statistically significant effects on the evaluation measures liking, willingness to pay and recall. Nevertheless, the findings reinforce the distinction between “wanting” and “liking” and underline the duality of conscious and non-conscious processes in decision-making. Furthermore, they provoke the conclusion that pre-store advertising may elicit planning and therefore more deliberate decisionmaking, decreasing spontaneous buying.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages131