Influencing Consumers' Impulse Buying on the Internet

Monica Vestergaard Christiansen & Sandra Isabella Siig Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


PURPOSE This thesis examines how businesses in the market for selling food online can stimulate the consumer to make impulse purchases. More specifically, the thesis examines whether and how businesses can design their sales promotions using three different colors and three different levels of text complexity in the presentations of price discounts to: 1) attract visual attention, 2) create a feeling of arousal and thereby 3) influence the consumer to perform an impulse purchase. Overall, the objective of the thesis is to produce insights regarding sales promotions which businesses can leverage to raise sales and initiate growth on the online food market. APPROACH The issue was examined by combining 1) a neuroscientific study consisting of eye-tracking and a measure of response time and 2) a self-report study consisting of both quantitative and qualitative questions. By using eye-tracking it was possible to measure how quickly and for how long the sales promotions were able to catch visual attention. Moreover, as existing theories claim that impulse buying is a result of arousal which leads to a quick decision-making with very limited deliberation, the neuroscientific measure of response time was used to measure impulse buying. As impulse buying is usually examined by a self-report measure of urge to buy impulsively, impulse buying was also measured by a quantitative question regarding this. In this way, it was possible to compare the neuroscientific and the self-report measure of impulse buying. Last, the respondents were asked a qualitative question about their preferences regarding the characteristics of sales promotions to gain a deeper understanding of the issue. FINDINGS Results show that the color of sales promotions does not influence their ability to attract visual attention, nor their ability to influence the consumer to make impulse purchases. That is, it makes no difference whether businesses present their sales promotions using a red, yellow or blue colour. Results also indicate that the text complexity which is used to present the sales promotions do influence their ability to create visual attention. More precisely, the results show that the higher the text complexity, the longer fixation time. This means, businesses should use direct price reductions and short text length to present their sales promotions as such presentations need less cognitive processing and hence not hinder impulsive reactions. Last, results indicate that although text has an influence on visual attention, it does not affect sales promotions ability to influence the consumer to make impulse purchases

EducationsMSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages138
SupervisorsJesper Clement