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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Marketing | 2014
Thesis number: 13753
Scarcity effects on consumer purchase intention in the context of E-commerce
Author: Trinh, Anh
Title: Scarcity effects on consumer purchase intention in the context of E-commerce
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; e-business; e-business; shoppailu; shopping; päätöksenteko; decision making; kuluttajat; consumers; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour
Pages: 83
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13753.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2155869)
Key terms: scarcity; e-commerce; online shopping; ease of searching for online deals; purchase intention
Abstract:
Objectives of the Study:

The purpose of this study is to examine effects of different types of scarcity messages on consumer purchase intention in the context of electronic commerce. The study also investigates the moderating roles of several individual-difference variables.

Academic background and methodology:

Prior research has demonstrated effects of scarcity on consumer purchase intention in many aspects. Only a few studies, however, have examined scarcity effects in the context of electronic commerce, where the ease of searching for alternative online deals may change the effectiveness of scarcity messages. Thus, it is critical to gain insights into how different types of scarcity messages influence consumer purchase intention in online shopping. Specifically, the study compares effects of scarcity between two contexts of e-commerce: high versus low ease of searching for deals. Accordingly, an online-survey experiment was conducted. The participants of the survey were exposed to two contexts. In each context, they were randomly allocated into one of six conditions containing different types of scarcity messages. Their purchase intentions were measured and investigated in order to figure out variances between conditions in each searching-ease context and the differences between two contexts. Additionally, the study examined the interaction between scarcity and three potential moderators of scarcity effects: uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure, and product familiarity, of which their moderating roles were demonstrated in prior research.

Findings and conclusions:

The study results showed that in the context of electronic commerce, scarcity messages became less effective. In the context of high searching-ease, no significant effect of scarcity was found. In the context of low searching-ease, only the scarcity message in form of intensive time limit, in association with a signal of price promotion, presented a significant effect on consumer purchase intention. Additionally, contrary to the findings of prior research, three investigated moderators showed no significant interaction with scarcity. This outcome suggested that to explain the underlying factors of scarcity effects in the context of e-commerce, other mediators should be considered. This finding is significant for managers who intend to use scarcity as a marketing tool for their online businesses. The result also contributes to the research area of scarcity effects.
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