Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #420
Online and Offline Consumer Behavior Analysis in a Social World
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W192b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)

The Behavioral Perspective Model of Consumer Choice is an elaboration of the three-term contingency and matching applied to the context of economic behavior. In fact, it embraces multi-term contingencies for consumer behavior from both utilitarian and social sources. In this symposium we will discuss recent formulations and analysis of the social aspect of consumption via increased focus on social contingencies in both online and offline consumer settings. The symposium starts with a paper on the increasing challenges and richness of an experimental analysis of consumer behavior in a social-powered Web (Web 2.0). The second paper provides an example of a study on an increasingly more relevant customer touch-point; the effects of other customers online reviews on consumer choices, from a discounting perspective. The third paper is an offline in-store experiment studying the effects of social product labels on consumer choice. The increased level of consumer-to-consumer interactions and more emphasis on social responsibility has changed the way organizations and consumers behave. This symposium deals with the effects of all this on models and experimentation in consumer behavior analysis.

Keyword(s): Consumer, In-store, Online, Social
Consumer Behavior Analysis in an Increasingly Social-Powered Digital World
VALDIMAR SIGURDSSON (Reykjavik University), Vishnu Menon (Reykjavik University), Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University)
Abstract: The digital environment has changed the way organizations and consumers behave. It has created a new wave of opportunities for both parties. In a world dominated by attitude research, the potential contribution of behavior analysis in explaining consumer behavior has been overlooked. There exists an opportunity to understand consumer choice from a behavioral perspective by conducting online marketing experiments using real time measurement tools. Such a study can bring forth the rigor of operant theory into mainstream marketing, thereby contributing to the advancement of online consumer research over and above the existing cognitive studies. The objectives of the paper are three fold. First we examine how the Internet is changing the face of marketing and consumer behavior. Second, we discuss the importance of studying online consumer research from a behavioral perspective and why it is relevant to both consumer and organizational behavior analysts. Third, we discuss the possibilities of experimental analysis of online consumer behavior through Web 1 (e-mail) and Web 2 (social media) applications in the context of the Behavioral Perspective Model (BPM), which is an elaborate attempt to combine behavioral psychology and consumer behavior in real life settings.

An Experimental Study of the Impact of Online Reviews

ASLE FAGERSTROM (The Norwegian School of Information Technology)

There has been a growing interest for studying the impact that other customers reviews online have on consumer choices. The present study investigates the impact from online reviews form a discounting perspective. The basic idea of discounting theory is that humans discount the future consequences of their choice. Discounting often involves a choice over time or/and uncertainty between choices. In a simulated online shopping scenario, 25 participants were asked to buy a tablet from one of two online web shops. They could choose to buy the tablet either from a web shop with other customers reviews related to the web companys reliability to deliver items, or from a web shop that did not have any reviews from other customers. The result shows that good reviews from other customers have some impact on consumer choices. However, when online reviews are medium and bad, online reviews from other customers have no impact on consumer choices. The results are discussed in relation to the concept of probability discounting. Suggestions for further research are given.

Social Product Labels and Vulnerable Populations (Pets): Efficacy of Retailer Point of Purchase Advertising
JEANINE PLOWMAN STRATTON (Furman University), Blake Williams (Furman University), Haley E. Jones (Furman University)
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to explore whether or not consumers purchasing goods for vulnerable populations, such as pets, are more responsive to point-of-purchase advertising, especially when those advertisements contain environmental claims. Social product labels (SPLs), which are product labels that declare particular claims about how a good was manufactured, environmental claims, etc., are critical stimuli for consumer decisions. Household animals maintained as pets are considered vulnerable populations in that they are dependent upon human caretakers for supplies such as food. The current study was conducted in a privately owned pet supply and grooming service retailer. Four pet products, including ingestible foods/treats and pet beds were assessed. SPL pet product claims were highlighted and posted in-store as point of purchase (POP) shelf tag advertisements. The POPs varied in detail of the SPL manufacturer claim from general to specific. A multiple-baseline across products design was implemented. The effect of the POPs was measured by 1) product unit sales and 2) pre-purchase consumer behavior at the display of each of the four products. Results suggest a positive impact for POPs displaying for both sales and pre-purchase consumer behavior. Implications for consumer behavior, retailer strategy, and product labeling practices will be discussed.



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