Based on mental accounting theory, this study explored whether the comparability of missed and subsequent promotional formats/frames affects inaction inertia.
Four experiments with imaginary and incentive-compatible designs were conducted to test the hypotheses.
Consumers are more likely to express inaction inertia after having missed a comparable promotion than after having missed a noncomparable promotion. Devaluation of the promoted target mediates the impact of comparability on inaction inertia, while referent others' actions do not moderate the comparability effect. Finally, when consumers accept a subsequent inferior promotion, they prefer using a different payment format because it reduces comparability of the two promotions.
Companies should use different promotional formats/frames to reduce comparability and inaction inertia when a new promotion is relatively inferior to a recent previous one. Companies should offer different payment options to help customers actively avoid comparing a current promotion with a missed promotion.
This study provides a more comprehensive conceptual structure for understanding the relationship between psychological comparability and inaction inertia. It provides insights into what actions companies should take to reduce inaction inertia. Furthermore, this study empirically tests the influence of multiple comparison referents, which provides a reference point for future studies on the factors affecting inaction inertia. A new method to examine whether consumers actively avoid comparisons is used, which clarifies the internal mechanism of inaction inertia.
This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan [MOST 102–2410-H-390–027-MY2]. The authors are grateful for helpful suggestions from Chien-Yu Huang.
Liu, H.-H. and Chou, H.-Y. (2020), "Effects of comparability of promotions on inaction inertia", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MIP-04-2020-0145Download as .RIS
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