The role of website objective sensory features on consumers’ purchase intentions

  • Maria Leonor Pereira Leite de Calheiros Ferraz (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

In an online context, marketers can only benefit from sensorial marketing by exploiting visual stimuli through objective sensory features (OSF). These play a determining role in the brand-consumer connection, arousing emotions, feelings, and impressions in the consumer's subconscious. For decades, retail brands have been benefiting from sensory marketing to deliver a unique and engaging brand experience and consequently, increase sales. Previous research has shown that the OSF of a website is one of the key dimensions to impact user's emotions and impressions. However, the relationship between OSF and consumer purchase intentions (PI) lacks research. Moreover, the following two dimensions of OSF, picture size (PS) and menu titles and filters (M&FT) that impact the aesthetics of a webpage layout, will enhance the consumers’ response to a retail brand website. Nonetheless, there are still few empirical studies on this area. This dissertation aims to understand the role of OSF in customer PI through the manipulation of two of its dimensions, PS and M&FT, explain the importance of these dimensions in a website and provide guidelines for companies to take advantage of these crucial, relatively unexplored dimensions of OSF. This research was conducted through a random distribution of four questionnaires, representing a different combination of two OSF dimensions, applied to cosmetics online e-commerce. The collected data were analysed through a variance analysis with two factors for repeated measures (Factorial ANOVA) and three linear regressions to validate the hypotheses of the proposed model. The results demonstrate that an “affective website” increases consumers' PI due to the intermediating role of affective responses (AR) and trust. By using positive website’s OSFs through moderate-high stimuli, brands can induce In an online context, marketers can only benefit from sensorial marketing by exploiting visual stimuli through objective sensory features (OSF). These play a determining role in the brand-consumer connection, arousing emotions, feelings, and impressions in the consumer's subconscious. For decades, retail brands have been benefiting from sensory marketing to deliver a unique and engaging brand experience and consequently, increase sales. Previous research has shown that the OSF of a website is one of the key dimensions to impact user's emotions and impressions. However, the relationship between OSF and consumer purchase intentions (PI) lacks research. Moreover, the following two dimensions of OSF, picture size (PS) and menu titles and filters (M&FT) that impact the aesthetics of a webpage layout, will enhance the consumers’ response to a retail brand website. Nonetheless, there are still few empirical studies on this area. This dissertation aims to understand the role of OSF in customer PI through the manipulation of two of its dimensions, PS and M&FT, explain the importance of these dimensions in a website and provide guidelines for companies to take advantage of these crucial, relatively unexplored dimensions of OSF. This research was conducted through a random distribution of four questionnaires, representing a different combination of two OSF dimensions, applied to cosmetics online e-commerce. The collected data were analysed through a variance analysis with two factors for repeated measures (Factorial ANOVA) and three linear regressions to validate the hypotheses of the proposed model. The results demonstrate that an “affective website” increases consumers' PI due to the intermediating role of affective responses (AR) and trust. By using positive website’s OSFs through moderate-high stimuli, brands can induce hedonic emotions and impressions such as interest and comfort and, consequently, trust. Finally, the results determined that the greatest OSF combination is large pictures and simple menus and, that the most determinant OSF dimension to influence consumers' ARs is PS. To conclude, this study provides a contribution to the literature by explaining the role of OSF in consumers’ PIs. Also, by presenting a set of relevant implications, it aims to increase the knowledge of companies and researchers on this relevant topic.

Date of Award12 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorCarla Sofia Carvalho Martins (Supervisor) & Joana Machado (Co-Supervisor)

Keywords

  • E-commerce website
  • Objective sensory features (OSF
  • Picture size (PS)
  • Menus and filters title (M&FT)
  • Affective responses (AR)
  • Trust
  • Purchase intention (PI)

Designation

  • Mestrado em Marketing

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