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Discounts or gifts? Not just to save money: A study on neural mechanism from the perspective of fuzzy decision

Yanping Gong (School of Business, Central South University, Changsha, China)
Wei Hou (School of Business, Central South University, Changsha, China)
Qin Zhang (School of Business, Central South University, Changsha, China)
Shuang Tian (School of Business, Central South University, Changsha, China)

Journal of Contemporary Marketing Science

ISSN: 2516-7480

Article publication date: 1 November 2018

Issue publication date: 28 November 2018

410

Abstract

Purpose

Decision theory holds that the ambiguity of decision information affects the choices of decision makers, who have the emotion of “ambiguity aversion” when making fuzzy decisions. The purpose of this paper is to explore the neural mechanism how the information ambiguity of different sales promotion strategies influences consumers’ purchasing decision.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the event-related potential (ERP) technique and experiment.

Findings

Results indicate that the information ambiguity of sales promotion strategies did influence the purchasing decision of consumers, and there were significant differences in the amplitudes of brain wave P2, N2 and P3 when consumers encountered the sales promotions of different types (discounts and gift-giving). This reflects the difference in perceived risk, decision-making conflict and decision-making attitude. It means that compared with discounts, the perceived risk and difficulty increased while the decision-making confidence plunged when consumers were faced with gift-giving promotions. This finding gives an explanation on the neural level why consumers prefer discounts, rather gift-giving sales promotions.

Practical implications

For the merchants to promote commodities online, it is suggested that the actual benefit from the sales promotion should be specified to reduce the ambiguity of sales promotion information. As the neuromarketing develops, merchants have obtained more effective approaches to study marketing strategies.

Originality/value

One of the theoretical contributions this paper made is that the authors innovatively explored the consumer’s preference to online sales promotion strategies from the perspective of fuzzy decision. Second, the authors adopted the ERP technique to study the influence of the ambiguity of sales promotion information on the consumer’s purchasing behaviors. Third, this study provides an explanation for why consumers prefer the sales promotion type of discounts according to the neural mechanism of decision making.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Nos 71672195, 71872184).

Citation

Gong, Y., Hou, W., Zhang, Q. and Tian, S. (2018), "Discounts or gifts? Not just to save money: A study on neural mechanism from the perspective of fuzzy decision", Journal of Contemporary Marketing Science, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 53-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCMARS-08-2018-0009

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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