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The arithmetic complexity of online grocery shopping: the moderating role of product pictures

Camille Desrochers (Department of Information Technology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, Canada)
Pierre-Majorique Léger (Department of Information Technology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, Canada)
Marc Fredette (Department of Decision Science, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, Canada)
Seyedmohammadmahdi Mirhoseini (Department of Information Technology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, Canada)
Sylvain Sénécal (Department of Marketing, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, Canada)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 26 June 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Online grocery shopping possesses characteristics that can make it more difficult than regular online shopping. There are numerous buying decisions to make each shopping session, there are large ranges of product types to choose from and there is varied arithmetical complexity. The purpose of this paper is to examine how such characteristics influence the attitude of consumers toward online grocery shopping websites.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors hypothesized that the product type (search or experience product), the task arithmetic complexity, and the attention and cognitive load associated with browsing through product pictures have an effect on the attitude of online shoppers toward these websites. To test the hypotheses, 31 subjects participated in a within-subject laboratory experiment.

Findings

The results suggest that visual attention to product pictures has a positive effect on the attitude of online shoppers toward a website when they are shopping for experience goods, but that it has a negative effect on their attitude toward a website when the task arithmetic complexity is greater. They also suggest that the cognitive load associated with browsing through product pictures has a negative effect on the attitude of online shoppers toward a website when they are shopping for experience goods, and that greater cognitive load variation has a positive effect on their attitude toward a website when arithmetic task complexity is greater.

Practical implications

When designing online grocery websites, providing clear single unit quantities with pictures corresponding to the sales unit could help establish a clear baseline on which consumers can work out their quantity requirements. For decisions involving experience goods, product pictures may act as an important complementary information source and may even be more diagnostic than text description.

Originality/value

Results reinforce the relevance of enriching the study of self-reported measures of the user experience on e-commerce sites with automatic measures.

Keywords

Citation

Desrochers, C., Léger, P.-M., Fredette, M., Mirhoseini, S. and Sénécal, S. (2019), "The arithmetic complexity of online grocery shopping: the moderating role of product pictures", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 119 No. 6, pp. 1206-1222. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-04-2018-0151

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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