Unplanned grocery purchases: the influence of the shopping-trip type revisited

The share of unplanned purchases is an important measure for marketers. For instance, marketers need to know if purchases are planned or unplanned to allocate their marketing resources efficiently. Furthermore, the share of unplanned purchases could be seen as an indicator of how efficient marketers are in communicating with their customers in the stores (even if the in-store marketer is not the only one influencing in- store decision making.) A frequent assumption in the marketing literature is that the share of unplanned purchases increases with the size of the purchase. This paper questions this assumption by approaching the issue from a perspective that views the shopping trip as either a (more or less) contingency-dependent construction or as the execution of a well-defined behavior. Larger (major) trips are hypothesized and found to be more well defined, whereas smaller (fill-in) trips are found to be largely contingency- dependent constructions.

I am really happy about this article since I took a bit of a risk with it. Remember that field studies always include some risk taking since there are so many factors that potentially could influence the results. In this case I was quite caught up on the idea of scripted behaviour but I had problems finding real-life situations where scripted behaviour was possible to study. Most of the papers I read about scripted behaviour included made up situations that were hard to envision ever happening in reality. However, with the help of thee article by Bettman, Luce, and Payne (1998) and a lot of nice customers in a large hypermarket in northern Stockholm I managed to get some publishable data. I have gotten quite a lot of positive feedback for this paper from distinguished researchers. The article is even cited by some articles in the Journal of Marketing.

The article is to be found here:

Unplanned purchases

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