ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (5): 612-624.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00612

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Does mobile shopping make fast decisions? The role of contextual factors and thinking style

Minxue HUANG,Wei WANG()   

  1. Department of Marketing and Tourism Management, Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2018-01-24 Published:2019-05-25 Online:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Wei WANG


Previous studies have proposed that firms attempt to reduce online shopping choice deferral, which may lead consumers to abandon or drop their shopping carts before making their final purchase. Moreover, given their mobility and tactile effects, the use of mobile devices can make consumers more emotional compared with the use of desktop computers, thereby triggering a decision-making process. However, the results of some surveys reject such case and instead reveal that the decision-making process of consumers is influenced by the interaction between contextual factors and product attributes. In this paper, these contextual factors were classified into mobile devices and personal computers, while product attributes were classified into low price and high price. Inspired by dual-process theory, we supposed that high (low) price might evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of consumers and that mobile devices (personal computers) could trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When these thinking styles are triggered by price and device types, the online choice deferral of these consumers will be reduced.
We performed two studies to verify these hypotheses. In Study 1, we collected 3, 674 order data from the Tmall online shopping platform for around two months with the cooperation of a wine company based in China. The threshold regression analysis of secondary data showed that the shopping terminal (mobile phones and personal computers) had no main effect on online shopping choice deferral. However, these results highlighted a significant interaction between product price and device type. As predicted in hypothesis 1, the results indicate that online consumers have significantly more choice deferral for a low-price product when shopping using their personal computers than their mobile phones. Meanwhile, these consumers have significantly more choice deferral for high-price products when shopping using their mobile phones than their personal computers. We also conducted a laboratory experiment to test our hypotheses and verified the mediating effect of thinking style by bootstrapping. We recruited 138 participants in Study 2. Our 2 (device type: mobile phone vs. personal computer) × 2 (price level: low vs. high) between-subject design showed that these participants had significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for low-price products when using mobile phones than when using personal computers. On the contrary, these participants showed a significantly lower tendency of choice deferral for high-price products when using personal computers than when using mobile phones. The mediating effect of thinking style was also verified.
The results suggest that online shopping choice deferral is affected not only by product attributes (such as price level in this paper) but also by specific situations (such as device type in this paper). High- (low-)priced products may evoke the rational (experiential) thinking styles of these consumers, while mobile devices (personal computers) can trigger their experiential (rational) thinking styles. When the thinking style is triggered by the product price and device, the online choice deferral of these consumers can be reduced. On the contrary, triggering these two thinking styles at the same time can increase their online shopping choice deferral.
The theoretical contributions of this research are as follows. First, this study offers a deeper understanding of the consumer shopping scenario by showing that different types of devices can trigger different thinking styles, thereby extending the current perspectives toward mobile shopping. Second, this study enriches the previous research on choice deferral by exploring the situational effect on the decision-making process. Third, this study extends the current understanding of the experiential and rational thinking styles by examining the relationship between these two styles, thereby contributing to dual-process theory. The findings of this study can also help companies improve their scenario-based target marketing.

Key words: choice deferral, dual-process theory, rational thinking style, experiential thinking style, device type

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