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Article
Publication date: 24 March 2021

Chenyan Gu, Zhe Zhang and Yuansi Hou

To investigate the psychological mechanism of observational learning in the online retailing context, the purpose of this paper is to show how the psychological distance…

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the psychological mechanism of observational learning in the online retailing context, the purpose of this paper is to show how the psychological distance between consumers and products affects modes of observational learning.

Design/methodology/approach

Five experimental studies are conducted to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The findings show that which modes of observational learning are adopted by consumers is affected by consumers’ psychological distance. Specifically, when the psychological distance between consumers and products is proximal, consumers tend to adopt the termed adequate observational learning mode by considering the interaction of information about popularity and the breadth of appeal of a product to make purchase. However, when the psychological distance is distal, consumers would consider information of popularity and breadth of appeal separately without considering the interaction, termed as inadequate observational learning mode. The observed relationship between psychological distance and observational learning mode could be explained by the construal level.

Research limitations/implications

This research advances the observational learning and psychological distance literature by investigating the psychological mechanism behind observational learning modes. Limitations include the use of scenario-based experiments to test the hypotheses, investigation of a single product attribute (i.e. breadth of appeal) and assessment of popularity information by sales volume alone.

Practical implications

The current research provides a deeper understanding of consumer observational learning modes, which can help online retailers to develop effective product strategies and marketing tactics and, finally, achieve stronger competitive positions.

Originality/value

The present research contributes to the literature by examining the psychological mechanism involved in observational learning. This research distinguishes adequate and inadequate observational learning modes from the perspective of psychological distance.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Zhe Zhang and Yuansi Hou

The purpose of the study is to explore the effects of two dimensions of perceived risk (functional and emotional risk) on two types of consumer information search (ongoing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to explore the effects of two dimensions of perceived risk (functional and emotional risk) on two types of consumer information search (ongoing and pre-purchase search) in the context of innovative products and services and examine the moderating effect of innate consumer innovativeness.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings in this study are generated with a quantitative design using a multiple linear regression model and a residual centering method on data-collected survey responses related to tablet PC adoption in an online community and laboratory experiment on online bike-renting services.

Findings

The results show that functional and emotional risks influence on-going and pre-purchase search differently in innovative products and services context. On the one hand, functional risk affects on-going search negatively, whereas emotional risk affects on-going search positively; on the other hand, the effect of functional risk on pre-purchase search is not significant, and the effect of emotional risk on pre-purchase search is positive. Furthermore, these relationships are moderated by innate consumer innovativeness. For on-going search, consumer innovativeness moderates the negative effect of functional risk negatively and moderates the positive effect of emotional risk positively; for pre-purchase search, consumer innovativeness moderates the positive effect of emotional risk negatively on pre-purchase search.

Originality/value

Unlike established products and services, innovative products and services possess some elements that are unfamiliar to consumers. Companies typically pre-release innovative products and services long before officially launching them in the market, enabling consumers to assess potential risks and seek information in advance, thereby priming the market. Since innovative products and services are becoming more ubiquitous, research on the impact of perceived risk on information search is crucial for marketers. The present work is designed to be the first to consider the effects of two dimensions of perceived risk (functional and emotional risk) on two types of consumer information search (ongoing and pre-purchase search) and the moderating effect of innate consumer innovativeness. The present research is, therefore, intended to make contributions to the literature on perceived risk, information search and innovation management.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

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