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Introduction Impulsiveness Impulse buying behavior is an enigma in the marketing world, for here is a behavior which the literature

and consumers both state is normatively wrong, yet which accounts for a substantial volume of the goods sold every year across a broad range of product categories (Bellenger et al., 1978; Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Han et al., 1991; Kollat and Willet, 1967; Rook and Fisher, 1995; Weinberg and Gottwald, 1982). Possibly, these negative evaluations of impulse buying behavior emanate from psychological studies of impulsiveness that characterize impulse behavior as a sign of immaturity and lacking behavioral control (Levy, 1976; Solnick et al., 1980) or as irrational, risky, and wasteful (Ainslie, 1975; Levy, 1976; Rook and Fisher, 1995; Solnick et al., 1980). Rook and Fisher (1995) were among the first marketing researchers to suggest that these normative evaluations act to moderate individual impulsive traits and, thus, reduce consumer impulse buying behavior. In other words, consumers attempt to control their innate impulsive tendencies because they do not want to be perceived as immature or irrational. However, this moderating effect does not conform with the high reported incidence of impulse buying behavior in studies conducted over the last four decades. These studies show that most people - almost 90 per cent - make purchases on impulse occasionally (Welles, 1986) and between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of all purchases can be classified by the buyers themselves as impulse purcha ses (Bellenger et al., 1978; Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Han et al., 1991; Kollat and Willett, 1967). Normative evaluations This discrepancy raises interesting questions regarding why negative normative evaluations have so little observed impact on aggregate impulse buying behavior. For instance, do some consumers consider impulse buying behavior appropriate, especially under certain circumstances, as proposed by Rook and Fisher (1995)? And, if so, what conditions allow consumers to justify their impulse buying behavior and override societal pressures to make purchase decisions rationally? This paper proposes that impulse buying behavior is much more complex than previously conceptualized; that this behavior stems from the desire to satisfy multiple needs that underlie many types of buying behavior. Specifically, this paper will explore needs for novelty, social interaction, and "fun", commonly termed hedonic motives, as contributors to impulse buying behavior. Further, this paper will explore and test several possible conditions that may allow consumers to view impulse buying behavior as a rational response to the complexities in their environment. For instance, information processing overload or other decision-making difficulties may encourage consumers to use les s demanding decision-making strategies, such as using schemata or heuristics to simplify decision making.

Consumers' motivations In an attempt to address the complex issues raised in this study, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is used to gain a better understanding of why consumers appear to utilize impulse buying behavior with such frequency. These methods are used to develop and test a set of hypotheses related to consumers' motivations behind impulse buying behavior. The study endswith suggestions for retailers and consumers to aid in channeling this type of behavior more constructively. Review of the current literature Most early efforts to study impulse buying behavior - those before 1987 - were concerned with definitional issues and attempted to classify impulse into one of several sub-categories, rather than to understand why so many consumers appear to act on their buying impulses so frequently. This concern with developing classificational schemata has generated a body of resea rch that ignores the behavioral motivations leading to impulse buying behavior for a large variety of products and instead focuses on a small number of relatively inexpensive products. More recent studies have reported impulse purchases across a broad range of product offerings in a variety of price ranges (Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Rook, 1987; Rook and Fisher, 1995). The pervasiveness of impulse buying, even for relatively expensive products, is counter-intuitive and has led to a few preliminary studies looking at impulse buying as an inherent individual trait, rather than a response to inexpensive product offerings. What is impulse buying? Definitions Definitions of impulse buying prior to 1982 focused on the product rather than the consumer as the motivator of impulse purchases. For instance, Stern (1962) provides the foundation for defining impulse buying behavior, which classifies the act as planned, unplanned, or impulse. According to this scheme, planned buying behavior involves a time -consuming information search followed by rational decision making (Piron, 1991; Stern, 1962). Unplanned buying refers to all purchases made without such advance planning and includes impulse buying, which is distinguished by the relative speed with which buying "decisions" occur. Subsequent to 1982, when researchers began to re-focus attention on impulse buying behavior, researchers began to investigate the behavioral dimensions of impulse buying. Most recently, researchers appear to agree that impulse buying involves a hedoni c or affective component (Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Piron, 1991; Rook, 1987; Rook and Fisher, 1995; Weinberg and Gottwald, 1982). For instance, Rook (1987) reports accounts by consumers who felt the product "calling" them,

almost demanding they purchase it. This emphasis on the behavioral elements of impulse buying led to the definition of impulse as follows:"Impulse buying occurs when a consumer experiences a sudden, often powerful and persistent urge to buy something immediately. The impulse to buy is hedonically complex and may stimulate emotional conflict. Also, impulse buying is prone to occur with diminished regard for its consequences (Rook, 1987, p. 191)." Buying behavior Recent research on impulse buying behavior indicates that individual consumers do n ot view their specific purchases as wrong and indeed retrospectively report a favorable evaluation of their behavior. Specifically, in the Rook (1987) study, a relatively small number of informants (only 20 percent) report feeling "bad" about their impulse buying, but an astonishingly large number of informants (41 percent) report that they actually feel good about their impulse purchases. These results are surprising after reviewing prior literature and definitions of impulse buying, possibly because they looked at individual consumers' evaluations of and motivation for a particular impulse purchase, rather than their attitudes toward impulse buying in general. The results reflect that, at least in this context, a large number of consumers failed to view impulse buying as normatively wrong. Following this unexpected result, Rook and Fisher (1995) developed a scale to measure impulsive buying tendencies, proposed as a surrogate for impulse buying behavior. They propose that this individual behavioral trait moderates the negative norms prevalent in society against impulse buying, thus reducing or eliminating negative feelings or conflict over impulse purchases. In other words, consumers still view impulse buying as "bad", but feel unable to control their impuls ive tendencies, an inherent behavioral trait. Several alternative explanations, however, are possible and two of them are explored in this paper. The first alternative proposed in this study is that consumers use shopping to satisfy a number of needs, not just their need for the products they acquire during the shopping excursion. In other words, the shopping act itself satisfies certain needs and the products purchased during these trips, since their purchase was unanticipated, fall into the realm of impulse buying behavior. In addition, consumers may purchase products during these shopping trips that were not anticipated but, once consumers see the product during the shopping exploration, they recognize its suitability for satisfying a particular need. Thus, consumers may use the shopping experience and resulting impulse buying behavior to satisfy a number of needs which do not fit into theories of economic utility (Boone and Kurtz, 1995). Theory development Empirical study

Our efforts to study empirically the impulse buying process and how theories of information processing might account for the relative frequency of reported impulse buying behavior led to the use of both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. First, due to the exploratory nature of our initial propositions, this paper used semi-structured interviews to explore consumers' emotions regarding shopping, how they make buying decisions, and why these decisions often result in impulse buying. Using this exploratory study, as well as the literature as a guide, this paper next developed a set of hypotheses related to impulse buying (testing these hypotheses required development of a scale to measure hedonic buying) and administered this scale, in combination with appropriate existing scales, to a convenient sample of consumers. Qualitative study In order to gain a better understanding of the way consumers viewed their buying and decision-making behavior, 60 semi-structured interviews were conducted by trained interviewers. Informants consisted of a convenience sample of consumers representing both sexes and various income and age brackets. On average, interviews lasted approximately 20 minutes and were recorded and later transcribed by the interviewers. To avoid contamination of the data by attempts to portray actions in a socially desirable light, informants were not asked directly about impulse buying and interviewers were not told the exact nature of the project. Rather, both informants and interviewers were told that the project was designed to explore shopping behaviors, and the incidence of impulse buying was allowed to emerge naturally. Interviews Analysis of the interviews progressed using the techniques for theory development suggested by Glaser and Strauss (1967). This method of theory generation involves a rigorous process of evaluation whereby the data are analyzed iteratively to identify categories, code incidents, and organize the data through theoretical memos. As the categories begin to emerge, constant comparison is employed until theoretical saturation is achieved. This methodology yields hypotheses empirically grounded in the data. These hypotheses may later be tested quantitatively or through further qualitative data collection. A grounded theory approach was selected because it helps discover, develop, and verify theory, which is the primary goal in this study (McDonald, 1996; Glaser and Strauss, 1967). This makes grounded theory a valuable tool because it concentrates on concepts and relationships or linkages between concepts; thus it is a suitable method for creating a framework directly from data (McDonald, 1996; Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Further, the grounded theory approach, because it uses the constant comparison method, allows theory behind actions to emerge (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Using this theoretical approach, this paper was able to detect a variety of hedonic needs that appeared to motivate consumers' impulse buying behavior. In addition, interviews detected the use

of hedonic need satisfaction as a retrospective rationale for purchases made during a shopping excursion. Because the interviews were conducted to generate an understanding of the impulse buying process, it is impossible to determine reliably the temporal precedence for the hedonic need. Among the hedonic needs identified were fun, novelty, and variety. Hedonic motivation for impulse buying Hedonic desires Among the higher-order needs elucidated through consumer reports in the literature are needs for novelty, variety, and surprise (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982; Hirschman, 1980). Similarly, consumers report that impulse buying satisfies a number of hedonic desires (Piron, 1991; Rook, 1987; Thompson et al., 1990). In addition, emotional support needs may also be satisfied by the social interaction inherent in the shopping experience. For instance, consumers report feeling uplifted or energized after a shopping experience in several qualitative studies (Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Rook, 1987). These sources appear to offer conceptual support for a link between hedonic shopping motives and impulse buying behavior. Our first effort was to identify some of the hedonic needs consumers seek to satisfy during their shopping experience in order to develop the hedonic needs scale. Based on our informants'reports, needs for fun, novelty, and surprise were identified. Shopping experience The following reports emphasize the fun or psychological lift consumers feel during and after a hedonic shopping experience. Especially evident is the contrast between the e motions evoked by the shopping experience and aspects of routine existence:"I usually only shop for clothes when I need something specific or for a pick-me-up. Just the atmosphere of new or different things makes me feel better ... I mean work is stressful enough. I don't want to go home to face a whole bunch more work.""So yeah, basically it does make me feel better. I shop to pass the time and to visit friends and, on occasion, to check out new items in the store, but mostly to pass the time. Because, after a busy work day, sometimes I like to relax and walk up and down aisles of stores.""I like to go to the mall or some of the little shops. For me, it's therapy. Just getting into the department stores, into the mall is therapy. And I'll probably spend the same amount as going to a therapist, so it doesn't matter. Shopping is therapy.""I feel good when I buy myself something and treat myself to stuff and going home and looking through my bags and seeing what I bought." Similarly, the following is characteristic of reports emphasizing the novelty aspects of hedonic shopping. This shows that shopping has, for some people, become a surrogate for more primal types of hunting and that the search and acquisition of goods are the reward, not any utility resulting

from the purchase:"My favorite store would be Merlin's BookStore on Fowler and I love going in there and finding the Japanese animation stuff that I like and I love it when I walk in there and I see something that I did not see before ... that [finding a new Japanese animation item] is really neat and cool. And I buy it." This theme is re-emphasized in the following passage: "[It's] like I'm on a mission. Seriously, I'm on a mission to find something different. Something that nobody else has." Satisfaction These reports suggest that consumers shop to satisfy a variety of hedonic needs and the specific products acquired during these excursions is secondary to the action of shopping. Since the goal of the shopping experience is to provide satisfaction of hedoni c needs, the products purchased during these excursions appear to be chosen without prior planning and represent an impulse buying event. This suggests the following hypothesis: H1. Individual consumers' impulse buying is correlated with their desires to f ulfil hedonic needs, such as for fun, novelty, and surprise. In addition to these hedonic motivations for impulse buying that were predictable from extant literature, additional motivating needs were identified in the interview data. Thematic analysis of t he interview transcripts indicated that these additional motivating needs could be loosely grouped according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1968) and that efforts to satisfy the higher-order needs in this hierarchy led to different types of impulse buying behavior. Attempts by consumers to satisfy physiological and safety needs conform with economic theories and do not, per se, represent attempts to satisfy additional needs that might lead to impulse buying. However, efforts to satisfy esteem and self-actualization needs appeared to impel consumers to make specific purchases that provided satisfaction for those particular needs. In addition, attempts to satisfy social needs, while less likely to prompt a specific purchase, as reflected in these repo rts, relied on the shopping experience itself to provide the desired satisfaction and the purchases made were of little consequence in fulfilling specific needs. Social needs Prevalent feelings that the shopping experience satisfied social needs was probab ly the most commonly expressed reason given for impulse buying behavior in the data. Typical of statements made by informants was the following:"One of my enjoyable shopping experiences was last month, after Christmas. My friends and I went shopping ... I thought we would just shop for some shoes and some casual clothes. But when we got to the mall ... there were sales ... sales ... sales. Everything looked good on me, but I can't buy them all.""I know my girlfriend likes to shop, so it's

something we can do together when we can't come up with anything else to do.""I went into K-Mart today and my daughter helped me pick out something for my son's birthday and we had a lot of fun looking at purses. We weren't in any big hurry and we found things we like and s ome we need. We just had fun." In these reports, the expression of social needs appeared unintentionally to lead to impulse buying behavior, in that the purchases were incidental to the more important need to interact and garner approval from a significant other or a group. Thus, this motivation differs from desires to fulfil safety and physiological needs that directed consumers toward specific purchases. H2. Individual consumer impulse buying behavior is correlated with desires to satisfy social needs. Informants expressed their esteem needs through the credence given to their desires to remain fashion-conscious. Statements indicate that informants readily recognized that others judged them by their appearance, especially their clothing. Thus, purchasing t he right clothing was of primary importance. Despite the weight placed on acquiring acceptable clothing, it was surprising that many of these purchases were not planned in advance. Sometimes, the informant would find a particularly suitable article of clothing while shopping for other needed items and purchase the item on impulse. In other cases, the informant was searching for a special occasion outfit, without pre-determining the criteria for its purchase, as is portrayed in the following statement:"A bea utiful dress. I didn't believe it ... it was cheap. It was a long black dress ... it was like a prom dress, but better. This dress really caught my eye. When I went in and tried it on, it really fit. It was like the dress was really made for me. I wore it to my friend's wedding. Everybody at the wedding looked at me ... boy, that made me feel good." H3. Individual consumer impulse buying behavior is correlated with desires to satisfy esteem, as measured by style consciousness. Self-actualization Examples of needs for self-actualization which were satisfied by the shopping experience and resulted in impulse buying behavior were also detected. In the following reports the consumers used the shopping experience as a means of establishing identity:"I like to go shopping because if allows me to have some control over an aspect of my life. I am not Ernest's wife or Nicholas and Zachary's mom, I am Julie.""One time I got this watch. I got it at the Disney store. It is just perfect for me. It was not an impulse, but I knew I wanted it, but I wasn't shopping for it. I had it in mind for a couple of months. Not like exactly this, but like kinda what I wanted. And when I saw it, I knew that was it. It's the one for me. It was like sparks went off and we knew we were meant to be together."

Similarly, there is evidence in the reports of consumers using impulse buying behavior as a means of self-reward based on having made sacrifices to achieve desired long -term goals. Much like the dieter who rewards him- or herself for having lost weight, these consumers allow themselves to buy things they did not need, in their efforts to reward themselves. For instance: "After an exam ... that's when I like to shop because I've worked hard in preparation for that exam and I deserve some new threads." Insights from information processing Psychology Much of the psychological literature on impulse and impulsive decision making appears to make the implicit assumption that acting on impulse results in poor decision quality, while the thoughtful search and evaluation necessary for rational decisions result in better decisions. Supporting this statement, Levy (1976) and Solnick et al. (1980) both include terms like "wasteful" and "risky" in their conceptualizations of impulse. Empirical studies su pport contentions that rational decisions made after an adequate search and evaluation of alternatives, such as the decisions made utilizing planned buying behavior, result in accurate decisions, but impulsive decisions result in decision errors (Halpern, 1989; Johnson-Laird, 1988). More specifically related to impulse buying, this behavior is linked with increased probability of negative consequences (Cobb and Hoyer, 1986; Rook and Fisher, 1995; Weinberg and Gottwald, 1982). This negative evaluation of impulsive decision making may be true when discussing impulse in general, but may not apply to impulse buying decisions, for several reasons. The first reason why impulse buying decisions may be accurate deals with the definition of accuracy employed and the second deals with increasing evidence that rational decision making is not inherently any more accurate than other decision-making alternatives, such as heuristics. Therefore, determination of what is meant by the term accuracy in connection with buying decisions is necessary. Objective criteria Since buying decisions are, almost by definition, complex, no single objective criterion suffices as a measure of accuracy. For instance, lowest possible price or other criterion cannot be used as a surrogate measure of accuracy and subjective criteria may be more useful in making these evaluations. If consumers are allowed to judge the accuracy of their buying decisions, through satisfaction with the purchase, then impulse purchases appear to be fundamentally accura te. For instance, in Rook's (1987) study, 41 per cent of consumers reported that they were satisfied with their impulse purchases.

Again, using the criterion of customer satisfaction as a measure of decision -making accuracy, questions arise regarding the relative accuracy of rational vs impulse buying decisions. Baron (1994) and Bettman et al. (1991) were among the first researchers to postulate that consumer decision making is so complex that consumers may not feel certain of the accuracy of their decisions despite the expenditure of a significant cognitive effort. In part, these uncertainties may arise due to numerous equivocal product features that make direct comparisons across products nearly impossible. One product, for example, may offer more style and a more reputable brand name, while another offers an appealing color and costs substantially less. The decision between these two products is difficult to reduce to a simple algorithm. Further, the average consumer is ill-prepared to reduce this complicated decision to a manageable cognitive task using decision-making aids familiar to many business executives. Thus, impulse buying occurs, which reduces cognitive effort. Past experiences of the consumer have shown that this produces acceptable purchases and may be particularly appealing to the average consumer. This leads to the following hypothesis: H4. Perceptions of decision-making accuracy moderate the impulse buying behavior. Cognitive effort The decision-making complexity outlined in the previous section may affect impulse buying behavior in other ways. Not only may consumers begin to question the accuracy of their rational decisions, especially in relation to the amount of cognitive effort expended to reach the decisions, but they may also begin to feel overwhelmed and frustrated trying to deal with the volume of complex information they experience (Bettman et al., 1991). This phenomenon is termed information processing overload and may increase customer feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness associated with the decision-making process (Baron, 1994; Herbig and Kramer, 1994). Importantly for this analysis, information processing overload is compounded by the variety often available in many shopping venues. The combined effects of decision-making complexity and information processing overload may substantially diminish judgment quality or accuracy (Bettman et al., 1991; Herbig and Kramer, 1994; Kahneman, 1973). Thus, despite concerted efforts to make the "right" decision, consumers may actually make worse decisions under these conditions (Kahneman, 1973). Therefore, as consumers increase their cognitive efforts in attempts to reach accurate decisions, both their dissatisfaction with the process increases and their decision accuracy declines. This le ads to the following hypotheses regarding impulse buying: H5a. Perceived decision effort is negatively correlated with perceptions of decision accuracy made by consumers.

H5b. Perceptions of decision effort moderate the impulse buying trait. Methodology Testing the hypotheses proposed in the previous section involved developing and administering a questionnaire to a convenience sample of consumers, assessing the reliability and validity of the scales employed, and conducting a series of ANOVAs after establishing three levels of impulse buying among respondents. Sample Questionnaire Based on extant literature and the hypotheses developed through the theory generation phase of this project, a 75-item multi-indicator questionnaire was developed. The initial que stionnaire was assessed for clarity, face validity, and necessary completion time by a group of eight members who had been involved in the qualitative data gathering phase of this project. After several rounds of modification, an acceptable questionnaire was administered by these group members to a convenience sample of 290 consumers using an intercept technique. Of the sample collected, 18 responses were removed due to incompleteness, leaving a final sample of 272 consumers. Table I displays the demographic characteristics of this sample, showing a reasonable mix of demographic groups represented in the data. Measures Hedonic consumption scale development. Using extant literature and the interviews as a guide, a 13-item scale to measure the hedonic tendencies of our consumer respondents was developed. The hedonic consumption scale incorporated the fun scale developed by Farber and O'Guinn (1988), the novelty scale originally developed by Unger (1981), and several items suggested by the interview data. The initial pool of items was reviewed by the interviewers and modifications made to several of the items. All items were measured using five-point Likert type scales. Data generated by the questionnaire were used to purify this scale based on the recommendation s of Churchill (1979), resulting in a unidimensional, seven -item scale. The items comprising the hedonic consumption scale are contained in Appendix 1. Use of existing measures Testing hypotheses In addition, existing scales were used for hypotheses testing. The impulse buying scale, developed by Rook and Fisher (1995), was modified by the addition of two items suggested by the

semi-structured interviews. One of these items, as well as one of the items originally appearing in the Rook and Fisher impulse scale, was later removed from the analysis based on low item-total correlations. This resulted in the seven-item Likert-type scale. Final items in this scale are displayed in Appendix 2. Other scales included credit usage, adopted from Darden and Ashton (1975) and Houston et al.'s (1987) visual processing style scale. Results Psychometric properties of scales utilized In addition to tests of face validity conducted earlier, the reliability of the scales was evaluated by calculating: (1) Cronbach's [alpha] (Table II); (2) assessing factor structure using exploratory factor analysis (Table III); and (3) inter-item correlations, and scale correlations (Table II) for each measured scale. Results indicate acceptable reliability for all measured constructs and constr uct validity (based on factor analysis). In addition, the pattern of correlations support nomological validity to the extent that they correspond with theory. All factor analyses were conducted using Maximum Likelihood extraction method, rotated using oblique rotation to a simple solution. Hedonic scale Assessment of the hedonic scale developed for this study indicated that three factors emerged, rather than the preferred single factor, from the initial pool of items. Regarding the three factors, the first (which accounted for 47.3 per cent of the variance) seemed to represent the fundamental elements of hedonic shopping as presented earlier in this study, namely the novelty, entertainment, and emotional lift achieved by consumers through their shopping beha vior. The second factor, which accounted for 8.4 per cent of the variance, only contained three items which cross -loaded on the first factor. The third factor also contained items cross-loading on the first, and a high factor inter-correlation. Thus, hypothesis testing involved the items loading only on the first factor (see Appendix 1). In addition to good face validity, this unidimensional scale produced good reliability, convergent, discriminant, and nomological validity (see Table II). Recall that the impulse trait scale was fundamentally the one employed in prior research, with small changes as a result of the qualitative portion of this study. The reliability of this scale was good (see

Table II) and, after deletion of one of the reverse score items, unidimensional. Further, the scale demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity. The social scale developed for this study did not provide adequate psychometric properties in terms of reliability and validity. All other scales used in this study provided acceptable reliabilities and validity without making any modifications to the initial scales (see Table II). Hypothesis testing Analysis Hypothesis testing involved correlational and ANOVA analysis. These tests resulted in several interesting and unexpected results. Perhaps the most interesting came from the correlational analysis, which indicated that the impulse buying trait did not correlate at the 0.01 level with any of the demographic variables assessed (see Table II). This is surprising sinceboth academic and anecdotal sources imply strong gender and income effects; therefore the lack of any demographic effects represents a contribution. H1 hypothesizes that consumers engage in impulse buying to satisfy hedonic desires for fun, novelty, and variety. Again, correlational analysis supports this hypothesis (p = 0.001). ANOVA also demonstrates that consumers who are more impulsive are more likely to shop for hedonic reasons than those who possess a small or moderate score on impulsiveness (see Tabl e III). H2 could not be tested quantitatively due to the poor performance of the social scale. Qualitative data do support this hypothesis and suggest the need for further testing. H3 proposes that impulsiveness is correlated with consumers' desires to fulfil higher order needs such as esteem and self-actualization. These needs were operationalized as style consciousness, based on qualitative data analysis. This hypothesis is supported since the data show a significant correlation between style consciousness and impulsiveness (p = 0.001) and ANOVA results demonstrate a significant increase in impulsiveness among increasingly style conscious consumers (see Table III). H4 is also supported by the data gathered in this study. This hypothesis proposes a relat ionship between impulse buying and perceived accuracy. While results suggest that both less impulsive and more impulsive consumers view their decision accuracy equally, moderately impulsive consumers view their decisions as less accurate than the other two groups. Although the data do not support H5a, relating to decision-making effort and accuracy, they do support H5b, indicating that more impulsive consumers appear to view their buying decisions as more laborious. Results show a significant negative correlation between perceptions of

decision-making effort expended and impulsiveness (p = 0.001), which is supported by ANOVA results. Discussion Consequences Much of the work on impulse buying behavior inherently attributes negative consequences to the behavior. Prior research also assumes that society imposes negative normative evaluations on impulse behavior, including impulse buying. Drawing on the research of Rook and Fisher (1995), this paper proposes that impulse buying is not always viewed negatively byconsumers, but represents a rational alternative to more time-consuming search behaviors. The paper attempts to explain why consumers employ this purchasing strategy so frequently and do not feel that impulse buying is overwhelmingly wrong. One explanation for this phenomenon is that consumers buy products for a variety of non-economic reasons, such as fun, fantasy, and social or emotional gratification. As some previous respondents suggest, buying impulsively feels a little freer and a little like doing something naughty, but relatively innocent (Rook, 1987). Since these benefits are normally not included in calculations of consumer utility, previous researchers conclude that impulse buying violates assumptions of profit maximization and is irrational. Once hedonic components are added to the equation, impulse buying can be viewed as a valued pastime rather than just a means of acquiring goods. Accuracy effects Another possible explanation revolves around accuracy effects. This paper proposes that accuracy effects may moderate impulse buying behavior by affecting the perceived trade -off between cognitive effort and decision-making accuracy. Information overload may further enhance this moderating effect by further decreasing perceived accuracy or reducing act ual accuracy (Kahneman, 1973). This discussion does not imply that these are the only factors that moderate impulse buying decisions, but they do introduce perspectives not currently addressed in extant literature. This literature currently identifies several contexts effects which also affect impulse buying. For example, low risk, familiarity with options, the number of decisions required, and temporal considerations influence impulse buying decisions (Bettman et al., 1991; Cialdini, 1993; Sujan, 1985). This analysis it is not complete by far. Besides accuracy effects and non-economic benefits, there are undoubtedly other situations and personality factors that motivate this behavior. Moreover, this analysis does not attempt to explain all impulse buying be havior. For instance, children probably

have an entirely different set of variables that motivate their buying impulses. Similarly, impulses experienced while shopping with a purchase pal probably involve additional social variables. Finally, the hypotheses presented here require further empirical testing. Testing is complicated because consumers generally have little or no retrospective access to spontaneous decisions, like impulse decisions (Nisbett and Wilson, 1977). Options such as in -depth interviews or participant observation may be able to tease out the relationship of impulse to the constructs raised here, however. Management and consumer implications Promoting impulse buying The managerial implications of this analysis should be fairly obvious. If r etailers wish to promote impulse buying, they should create an environment where consumers can be relieved of their negative perceptions of impulse. Retailers may stress the relative rationality of impulse buying in their advertising efforts. Similarly, they may stress the non-economic rewards of impulse buying. Additionally, retailers can make the environment more complex, further straining consumers' abilities to process information accurately. Such techniques as stocking more merchandise, creating stimulating atmospherics, and increasing information may be useful to stimulate impulse buying. Retailers can make impulse purchasing more risk-free, through convenient return policies, or increase enablers such as credit and store hours (Rook and Fisher, 1995). Importantly, this model also offers options for consumers to control their buying impulses, if they choose to, or feel better about their impulse buying, by relieving their negative evaluations of impulse. Consumers should recognize that heuristics and im pulse are not bad, but implicitly involve a trade-off between rapid, hedonically satisfying purchases and less affective, but more thoughtful planned purchases. Once consumers recognize that products are more than commodities and that they are buying to please their hedonistic desires as well as their physical desires, they will feel more comfortable with the impulse buying decision. Consumers Impulse buying processes are alternatives to planned decision making and consumers must use these techniques with that in mind. If impulse is a response to information overload, consumers may reduce the information processing demands by restricting their search either to a few products or to several features of a larger number of products. They may also develop decisio n aids, such as lists, comparison tables or graphs, reducing reliance on heuristics. Similarly, they can allow enough time for gathering information and evaluating options before purchase. These options will help

make purposeful analysis less frustrating and more productive. Other options include limiting unnecessary emotional distractions like shopping buddies, especially children. Consumers can also choose other methods to moderate their moods, rather than resorting to impulse buying for that purpose. Consumers should be more aware of retailers' efforts to manipulate their moods to influence their buying decisions. Moreover, they can reduce enablers by only shopping when they need specific purchases and only carrying enough cash or credit for necessary pur chases. Executive summary and implications for managers and executives Shopping should be fun - it is your job to make it so We are "taught" to see impulse buying as a slightly irresponsible act - wasteful, frivolous and just a little wicked. Why? We all make many purchase decisions on the spur of the moment. But this does not mean that such actions are wasteful or unthinking. Reading Hausman's research reveals that, far from impulse purchases being unthinking, they are very often the culmination of a longer purchase decision process. The decision to buy a new dress, for example, might be made in principle ("I need a new outfit for Steve and Claire's wedding") but that specific decision might be made "on impulse" ("I saw the dress in a shop window, it lookedright and it fitted, so I bought it"). In essence the impulse purchase is satisfying a set of human wants that are "uneconomic". From the rationalist point of view, impulse buying seems wrong. The individual has not researched and assessed the needs to be fulfilled so is making an "irrational" decision. However, as Hausman makes clear, the real situation is that an impulse purchase is satisfying real needs, albeit needs that are of a higher order than those that concern the rationalist. Marketers have long recognised the significance of impulse. The result is advertising that features spontaneity, elaborate window dressing and, at another level, the use of dump bins and counter displays to stimulate impulse purchase. But these activities to exploit impulsepurchase reflect only a simple understanding of this particular type of consumer behaviour. Hausman shows us that the phenomenon of impulse buying is more complicated and multi -faceted than we have assumed. Reasons for buying on impulse We have already referred to one reason for the impulse buy - the "decision in principle". We want a dress but have not made a specific choice nor have we undertaken a systematic search. We are not shopping for any particular purpose; indeed we may be simply passing by the st ore on some other errand.

There are, however, other factors that influence the impulse purchase. The most significant of these is the view of shopping as a social pleasure. Hausman's focus groups reveal that consumers see shopping as "retail therapy", as a way of getting over the stresses of a working day or simply a fun day out. We can, by looking at this view of shopping, begin to return to a rational explanation for shopping behaviour. If the rationalist sees shopping purely in terms of obtaining goods,then impulse buying does not make sense. But if we rationalise shopping as pleasure seeking, then the impulse purchase becomes more understandable. The impulse purchase is not the result of a specific search to satisfy a particular requirement since the satisfaction comes from the act of shopping itself. Purchases are incidental to this process although they do provide proof of the enjoyment. Chances are that, if we "go to look round the shops", we will return having made some form of purchase. And that purchase will have been made on impulse. So what does this mean for the retailer and the marketer? The first lesson for the retailer is that the impact of the store is crucial to success. In many cases the store visitor has not set out with the specific purpose of visiting your store - they are simply "out shopping". In these circumstances, it is worthwhile understanding what merchandise triggers impulsive reactions. Second, we need to appreciate that many shoppers do not have a specific objective or purpose. They may make a purchase, but this is as likely to be because they have seen something that cries out "buy me" as to satisfy some existing requirement or desire. The lesson from these behaviour revelations is that marketers need to focus as much on entertainment, interest and excitement as they do on getting the mix of merchandise right and the pricing spot on. If the balance is wrong then the shopper may see your store as "stuffy" or "unfriendly". If you have the space, put on events that encourage visitors. Have special demonstrations. Use special offers to stimulate sales. Shopping may be great fun to many people but it will be even more fun if the retailers set about providing some additional entertainment. Get the right employees and train them well Traditional retail training (where it is given) has focused on giving employees observational and service skills. We need to extend this understanding to add the idea of giving pleasure and

satisfaction to buyers and non-buyers alike. If your employees realise that one aspect of a successful store is that shopping there is fun, then they will be able to develop ways - with your encouragement - to improve the shoppers' in-store experience. The recruitment and training of employees are often overlooked as an asp ect of good retail marketing. Yet the way in which shop workers engage with the customer is perhaps the most important element of marketing a retail business. At the same time you need to provide the opportunities for staff to make that difference. One obvious example can be seen in toy stores like Hamley's in London or FAO Schwartz, New York, where young employees demonstrate simple, cheap toys - yo-yos, bubble guns, boomerangs, etc. These activities make the store livelier and provide an opportunity to capture the impulse buyer. Another approach is the use of humour in labelling - UK wine merchant chain, Oddbins, has made a feature of this approach. And the comments all come from the employees themselves following regular wine tasting sessions. Not only do the staff know about the wine but they are encouraged to be just a little irreverent in the way they describe it and the way they sell it. Remember then that shopping is fun. If you do, and you encourage your employees, then the impulse shoppers will come to your store because it is a pleasure. And they will buy. (A precis of the article "A multi-method investigation of consumer motivations in impulse buying behavior". Supplied by Marketing Consultants for MCB University Press.) References 1. Ainslie, G. (1975), "Specious reward: a behavioral theory of impulsiveness and impulse control", Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 82 No. 4, pp. 463-96. 2. Baron, J. (1994), Thinking and Deciding, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA. 3. Bellenger, D.N., Robertson, D.H. and Hirschman, E.C. (1978), "Impulse buying varies by product", Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 18, pp. 15-18. 4. Bettman, J.R., Johnson, E.J. and Payne, J.W. (1991), "Consumer decision making", Handbook of Consumer Behavior, pp. 50-84. 5. Boone, L.E. and Kurtz, D.L. (1995), Contemporary Marketing, 8th ed., Dryden Press, Orlando, FL. 6. Churchill, G.A. (1979), "A paradigm for developing better measures of marketing constructs", Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 16, February, pp. 64-73.

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Appendix 1 See Table AI Appendix 2