Although consumers’ responses to stockouts have been well documented, previous research findings report inconsistencies. Drawing on consumer thinking style and attribution theory, we investigate why consumers react differently toward stockouts. Through two experimental studies, we show consumer thinking style has an impact on attitude toward stockouts (involving both the product as well as the online retailer). Attribution mediates the effect of thinking style on attitude toward a stockout experience. Analytic thinkers focus on the attributes of out of stock products and evaluate out-of-stock events more negatively than holistic thinkers. Our results indicate information elaboration can improve evaluation by analytic thinkers. By raising awareness of the different effects stockouts have on consumers, online retailers can employ effective methods to minimize negative reactions.
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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