University of Twente Student Theses


Reading the signs : the effects of visual background cues on product experience in online shopping environments

Lohuis, A.T. (2015) Reading the signs : the effects of visual background cues on product experience in online shopping environments.

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Abstract:An important difference between the brick and click consumer market is the product presentation. Where conventional stores use packaging, store atmospherics and other tangible aspects to lure the consumer, web shops lack these means. The consequence is that online shopping environments convey limited product experience which causes less emotional responses, a high uncertainty towards the product and a lower purchase intention. Therefore, the goals of this present research was to determine to what extent visual backgrounds can influence product experience and consumer attitudes towards the product. Prior research has shown that visual cues are a mean to affect consumer behavior. Especially visual metaphors and symbols carry the ability to inform and persuade. However, prior research lacks insights in how visual background cues improve online product experience. This research attempted to address this scientific gap with two pretests and one main study. Pretest 1 and 2 set the stimulus material for the 2x3 experimental research design. The main study explored if consumers change attitude when visuals with symbolic value are displayed behind the product (watches and perfumes). Results show that symbolic visual backgrounds can influence product evaluation and price expectations in specific conditions. This effect is mediated by the product experience. The consumer experiences the perfume as more joyful when a joyful or luxury background on the perfume bottle is showed. Consequently, symbolic backgrounds increase the product evaluation and price expectation. Especially, consumers are receptive for the effects of visual cues in online perfumes presentation (in contrast to watches). In the discussion, we argue that this effect with perfumes occurs because the consumer relies more on external factors when intrinsic product attributes are not feasible (the perfume can’t be smelled). Results help online marketers to enrich online shopping.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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