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Consumers’ psychological outcomes linked to the use of an online store’s recommendation system

Francisco J. Martínez-López (Department of Business Administration, University of Granada, Granada, Spain AND Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain)
Irene Esteban-Millat (Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain)
Ana Argila (University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Francisco Rejón-Guardia (Department of Marketing, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




Psychological perspective has been omitted or considered a secondary issue by past studies focused on e-commerce recommendation systems (RS). However, this perspective is key to gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviours when these systems are used to support purchasing processes at online stores. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The field study consisted of a simulated online shopping process undertaken by a sample of internet users with a recommender system at a real online store (Pixmania). The authors applied rigorous and detailed exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to assess the empirical validity of the model.


The proposed sequence of psychological outcomes is valid, with the exception of one hypothesized relationship. In particular, satisfaction with an online store’s recommender has a strong influence on a consumer’s willingness to purchase one of the items related to his/her shopping goal. However, this satisfaction has no direct effect on a consumer’s intention to make add-on purchases based on the recommender’s suggestions. On the contrary, the results support the idea that add-on purchases are conditioned by a previous purchase related to the consumer’s initial shopping goal. On the other hand, a consumer’s flow state while shopping improves all his/her psychological outcomes linked to an online store’s recommender. The influence of flow state is particularly interesting when seeking to gain a better understanding of consumers’ unplanned purchases based on the recommender’s suggestions. These findings have important implications for practitioners.


This paper discusses in detail and empirically test a set of psychological outcomes that emerge when an e-vendor’s recommender is used to assist a consumer’s shopping process. To the best of the knowledge, this is the first attempt that empirically tests most of the hypothesized relationships within an online store’s RS context.



The authors acknowledge financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (National Research Project ECO2012-31712).


Martínez-López, F.J., Esteban-Millat, I., Argila, A. and Rejón-Guardia, F. (2015), "Consumers’ psychological outcomes linked to the use of an online store’s recommendation system", Internet Research, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 562-588.



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