In the marketplace of the internet, a search engine can help people get to their preferred item much quicker than by wondering from store to store in the physical world (Bakos, 1997). This is made especially so since many stores should aim to slow consumers down so more attention is paid to more products (Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn & Nesdale, 1994; Gladwell, 1996). Therefore, inside stores, there are more “Ooh, you was about to forget about me weren’t you? Lucky for you I am eye-catching!” and more “You did not want me, but I am on offer!” vibes coming from products as you wonder around to find your target one (Tendai & Crispen, 2009; Stern, 1962). Furthermore, with the internet, some companies have earned less, as they cannot rely so much on consumers choosing their products because they do not know where else to look, cannot be bothered to make more of a journey, etc. (Bakos, 1997). Thus, the internet has made finding the right product easier for consumers.
With it so easy to find what you want on the internet, what can companies do to increase sales? A few decades ago, a little over 50% of in-store purchases were found to be brought on impulse (Kollet & Willett, 1967). Hence, the profitability of stores have depended quite a lot on unplanned purchases.
You may have noticed recommendations of other products offered to you on sites such as Amazon.co.uk, hmv.co.uk and ASOS.com as you browsed through their selections. Lucky for companies, research has found that these recommendations can generate sales or divert sales to other products (Hinz & Eckert, 2010). However, there exist negative reactions in the world, a well-documented theory, and you can hoover over these following links for the titles (Bastian et al., 2012; Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2004; Shanteau, 2001; Eisenberger, Lynch, Aselage & Rohdieck, 2004; Krebs, Garrett & Konrad, 2006; Matthews & Desmond, 2002; Vecchio, 2000; Lehman, D’Mello & Graesser, 2012).
One bad reaction that troubles the use of recommendations is psychological reactance (Kwon & Chung, 2010), which Miller, Lane, Deatrick, Young and Potts (2007) defined as not liking and accepting something. In this case, people can dislike and reject recommendations. Consumers experiencing psychological reactance is particularly bad as it could make those consumers reject items they have previously wanted to buy (Miller et al., 2007). Why, you may ask. To show the company that they have the freedom not to buy the item (Miller et al., 2007). You may have wanted a crate of pesto to go with your crate of pasta, but after being told what you might like, you may want to virtually smack away the crate of deliciousness and storm off to celebrate your free will. The website did not manipulate you. Or have they?
Nonetheless, there is a method available that may reduce chances of reactance. Kwon and Chung (2010) developed a recommendation system where consumers can customise their what they may see. Kwon and Chung (2010) argued that getting consumers involved to create more relevant recommendations can reduce instances of reactance. Tezinde, Smith and Murphy (2002) too argued that asking consumers whether they want to receive recommendation emails can avoid many negative reactions. Therefore, personalisation of recommendations may help increase sales. All hope is not lost here.
Amazon.co.uk seemingly trying to improve their recommendations. A choice to smack away this recommendation?
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