The final section summarizes the conclusions and implications of the present study. Quality is a central element in business strategy and academic research. Firms compete on quality, customers search for quality, and markets are transformed by quality Golder et al. In the marketing literature, some researchers distinguish between objective and subjective quality e. Perceived quality is defined as a buyer's estimate of a product's cumulative excellence Zeithaml, Perceived product quality is a key variable in the consumer decision process Steenkamp, and it is considered a pivotal determinant of shopping behavior and product choice e.
According to information economics Nelson, , , consumers have uncertainty about the quality attributes and benefits of the products they aim to purchase because of the imperfect, asymmetric information that characterizes most product markets. Companies are more informed about their products than customers, so firms can behave opportunistically.
To overcome that uncertainty, companies must inform consumers and give them cues about their credibility Erdem and Swait, ; Akdeniz et al. Cue signals mostly serve as heuristics in assessing product quality when 1 there is a need to reduce the perceived risk of purchase, 2 the consumer lacks expertise and consequently the ability to assess quality, 3 consumer involvement is low, 4 objective quality is too complex to assess or the consumer is not in the habit of spending time objectively assessing quality, or 5 there is an information search preference and need for information Dawar and Parker, Therefore, in technological products e.
Cue utilization theory considers that products consist of a set of cues that serve as surrogate indicators of quality to consumers and specifies that, when consumers make inferences about perceptions Olson, Cues are represented by the set of attributes related to the product they are assessing. The particular cues are evoked according to their predictive and confidence values. The predictive value of a cue is the degree to which consumers associate a given cue with product quality.
The confidence value of a cue is the degree to which consumers have confidence in their ability to use and judge that cue accurately Richardson et al. These cues can be either extrinsic or intrinsic. The former relate less closely to the product, such that changes to the extrinsic cue do not necessarily entail changes in product attributes e. The latter include attributes whose modification would involve a change in the physical properties of the product e. Research evidence suggests that consumers tend to use both extrinsic and intrinsic cues concurrently when evaluating product quality Szibillo and Jacoby, ; Richardson et al.
Dawar and Parker propose that the relative importance of these cue signals generally follow their specificity, or the extent to which a particular signal is not shared across competitive products. A brand name, for example, is typically shared by only a few products within a competitive line of products and is therefore a very specific signal. Physical features, on the other hand, can be shared to a greater extent across competing products and are therefore less specific.
The more specific a signal, all else being equal, the more likely it will provide information that is useful in an assessment of product quality. This distinction is consistent with the belief that cue signals are relied on as a function of their predictive value. Consumers use cues to develop beliefs about products and that task response i. Customer loyalty remains a topic of great interest for firms Kotler and Keller, ; Garnefeld et al. Consumers exhibit behavioral loyalty when they repeatedly patronize a business, often to the exclusion of competing offers.
Behavioral loyalty is desirable from a financial perspective, for example, because superior brand performance outcomes such as greater market share and price premiums relate to customer brand loyalty Chaudhuri and Holbrook, This definition emphasizes the two different aspects of brand loyalty: behavioral and attitudinal Dick and Basu, ; Chaudhuri and Holbrook, ; Garnefeld et al. Oliver's framework proposes a cognition-affect-conation-action framework with four loyalty phases. In the first loyalty phase, the brand attribute information available to the consumer indicates that one brand is preferable to its alternatives.
This stage is referred to as cognitive loyalty, or loyalty based on brand belief only.
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Cognition can be based on prior knowledge or on recent experience-based information. Loyalty at this phase is directed toward the brand because of this information attribute performance levels. In the second phase of loyalty development, a liking or attitude toward the brand has been developed on the basis of cumulatively satisfying usage occasions.
Commitment at this phase is referred to as affective loyalty and is encoded in the consumer's mind as cognition and affect. The next phase of loyalty development is the conative behavioral intention stage, influenced by repeated episodes of positive affect toward the brand. Conation, by definition, implies a brand-specific commitment to repurchase. In the action control sequence, the motivated intention in the previous loyalty state is transformed into readiness to act. The action control paradigm proposes that this is accompanied by an additional desire to overcome obstacles that might prevent the act.
Action is perceived as a necessary result of engaging both these states.
How to Convert More Customers by Adding Perceived Value
If this engagement is repeated, an action inertia develops, thereby facilitating repurchase. In short, cognitive loyalty focuses on the brand's performance aspects, affective loyalty is directed toward the brand's likeableness, conative loyalty is experienced when the consumer focuses on wanting to rebuy the brand, and action loyalty is commitment to the action of rebuying Oliver, In the current competitive context product quality and brand experience are crucial in building and maintaining customer loyalty Brakus et al. Brand experience is defined as subjective, internal consumer responses sensations, feelings, and cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand's design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments Brakus et al.
If a brand evokes an experience, this alone leads to loyalty. In addition, an experience may be the basis for more elaborative information processing and inference making that results in brand-related associations. In turn, these associations affect loyalty Brakus et al. In this paper, we focus on cognitive and affective loyalty. We propose that in the first loyalty phase cognitive loyalty the customer is more focused on utilitarian and performance product attributes, therefore intrinsic quality will be a more relevant signal in this phase.
However, in the second phase affective loyalty , because affect toward the brand has been developed on the basis of cumulatively satisfying experience occasions, the customer can be driven by the positive reaction toward a brand signal extrinsic quality. Commercial stimuli are informative cues Steenkamp, that aim to attract attention to and raise interest in a product, by featuring it inside the store special location or displays or outside the store coupons and advertising flyers; e.
These stimuli trigger a cognitive or emotional response to the featured product and, therefore, can become part of the set of considered options in the evaluation phase or choice, by enhancing its purchase probability Yeung and Wyer, ; Chandon et al. This paper focus on two of the most used commercial stimuli: displays as in-store stimuli and advertising flyers as out-of-store stimuli. On one hand, in-store stimuli special displays can be considered as any special presentation in the store aimed at drawing attention to a product and increasing its sales e. These special displays are noticeable to customers inside the store, i.
Therefore, displays may trigger unrecognized needs and desires or trigger memories for forgotten needs, leading to in-store decision making, or unplanned purchasing Inman et al. What is more, consumers tend to view them as special bargains and often buy from a displayed product, which they had no previous intention of buying Lin et al. Several studies confirm that displays or merchandising techniques exert direct effects on sales e.
On the other hand, out-of-store stimuli advertising flyers are mass communication techniques that are mainly used by retailers to increase the store traffic as well as to publicize promotions or to increase purchases Burton et al. Advertising flyers are sent to potential consumers' homes in order to remind consumers about the existence of a product or to inform them about any promotions to enhance the impact of those deals Gijsbrechts et al.
Thus, advertising flyers work differently from displays because they may facilitate the purchase planning Burton et al. Previous studies confirm that advertising flyers, in particular, exert direct effects on store traffic and store sales as well as product sales Burton et al. Based on this previous literature, we expect a positive effect of both commercial stimuli, displays and advertising flyers, on sales.
Therefore, we propose the following hypotheses:. H1: Product displays engender a positive effect on sales. H2: Advertising flyers engender a positive effect on sales. Studies about commercial stimuli usually take into account different typical characteristics of the analyzed stimuli and thus control for various particular aspects that can moderate their results see Table 1.
For example, studies that analyze special presentations at the point of sale control for the distance between the new position of the displayed product from its usual position or whether this new position is in proximity to a complementary product or another commercial stimulus Bezawada et al.
Studies focused on advertising flyers also account for their characteristics, such as the number of pages, geographic area in which they are launched, temporal frequency, or average discounts Gijsbrechts et al. Furthermore, other studies analyze the key moderating role of consumers' profile on commercial stimuli effectiveness. For example, consumer characteristics such as coupon proneness, brand loyalty, store loyalty, value consciousness, price consciousness, or income Bawa, ; Laroche et al.
In this line, Lemon and Nowlis examine synergies between different types of promotions price promotions, displays, and feature advertising and characteristics of the brands that offer the promotions. They consider the price-quality tier of the brand as a moderator of the effectiveness of promotions. Specifically they consider leading national brands as the high quality tier and private labels or small share brands as the low-quality tiers by assuming price tiers as quality tiers. They found that high tier brands benefit more than low-tier brands from price promotions, display, or feature advertising when the promotional tools are used by themselves.
However, Lemon and Nowlis , as in the majority of studies, performed their research on frequently purchased products and did not take into account that the product perceived quality is formed through both types of characteristics, product characteristics—intrinsic attributes—and brand characteristics—extrinsic attributes— Szibillo and Jacoby, ; Richardson et al.
Their results may be moderated if the study focuses on infrequently purchased products e. This product features substantial technological components and greater perceived risk and high involvement, because of their complexity and dynamic evolution Laurent and Kapferer, ; Neelamegham and Chintagunta, ; Sriram et al. For these reasons, consumers may be motivated to develop a more reasoned and planned process for purchasing this type of product and, therefore, the degree to which alternatives can be compared directly or must be considered individually may become a very important aspect of the decision task that can affect a wide variety of decisions Hsee and Leclerc, ; Ritov, as well as the effectiveness of different commercial stimuli depending on the degree to which they favor a more reasoned purchase and allow products to be directly compared or considered separately.
Previous research shows that time constraints influence consumers' perceptions of quality Suri and Monroe, Dhar and Nowlis found that under time pressure, consumers are more likely to consider unique features among choices and less likely to consider common features.
In addition, their subjects recalled more features unique and common in the no time pressure condition than in the time pressure condition. Under time-constrained conditions, customers are more likely to use heuristics, such as the brand name heuristic, to simplify the cognitive task Kaplan et al. Whereas, in low time-constrained conditions the opportunity to process information is high and then systematic processing will be more likely Suri and Monroe, Moreover, an increase in time pressure led to a greater use of heuristics when the motivation to process information was high relative to when it was low Sanbonmatsu and Fazio, ; Suri and Monroe, , for example with a high involvement product like computers.
Displays usually isolate a displayed product from the rest of competing alternatives. These stimuli take place within the store where consumers have less time to reason the purchase; therefore, they trigger a more unplanned purchase and are more likely to use heuristics to simplify decisions. Displays are used for highlighting a particular product and consumers consider this product individually. In this context, the brand is a unique feature among choices and brand name could be used as a heuristic by the consumer as a risk reduction strategy Fischer et al.
Brands identify the source or maker of a product. Consumers recognize a brand and activate their knowledge about it Zhang and Sood, Using what they know about the brand in terms of overall quality and specific characteristics, consumers can form reasonable expectations about the functional and other benefits of the brand. Consequently, brands contribute to reducing the consumer's subjective risk of making a purchase mistake e. Moreover, in the case of display, brand is a more salient cue because it is a more specific signal which provides more information about the quality of the product Dawar and Parker, Advertising flyers are out-of-store stimuli because they are usually sent to potential consumers' homes in order to facilitate their purchase planning and, ideally, to attract them to the store Schmidt and Bjerre, ; Haans and Gijsbrechts, Advertising flyers allow consumers to have time to overthink the purchase decision, giving them time to search for information and evaluate the perceived quality of a product in relation to all its attributes before they even enter the point of sale Gijsbrechts et al.
Although advertising flyers also encourage separate evaluations of products, in this context in low time-constrained conditions the consumers have more time to reason the purchase. Thus, they have the opportunity to process more information and therefore it is more likely that consumers will carry out more systematic information processing in which they analyze the intrinsic characteristics of the product.
They may easily compare information about different product alternatives by using other available communication channels like the Internet. Thus, we propose that the perceived quality attributed to the brand is more salient, and thus engenders greater sales, with displays than with advertising flyers. However, the perceived quality attributed to the intrinsic product characteristics is more salient, and thus engenders greater sales, with advertising flyers than with displays.
Therefore, in line with this argument, we present the following hypotheses:. H3: The perceived quality attributed to the brand enhances the effectiveness of displays more than it does the effectiveness of advertising flyers for sales. H4: The perceived quality attributed to the intrinsic product characteristics enhances the effectiveness of advertising flyers more than it does the effectiveness of displays for sales. We considered this type of product to be the most appropriate for analyzing the influence of the quality attributed to the brand—very often used as a risk reduction strategy for this product category—and the intrinsic product quality characteristics—very easy to compare through objective measures like MegaBites or GigaBites —on the effectiveness of different commercial stimuli.
Although consumers usually plan their purchase of computers rather than buy them on impulse, they usually have product experience and high motivation to process information Suri and Monroe, ; therefore, commercial stimuli can trigger the purchase of one particular SKU Stock-Keeping Unit or one brand instead of another.