Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sold-out Products Influence Consumer Choice

Date:
September 29, 2009
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
An empty store shelf tempts shoppers to buy the next best thing, according to a new study.

An empty store shelf tempts shoppers to buy the next best thing, according to a new study from the University of Alberta.

"Sold-out products create a sense of immediacy for customers; they feel that if one product is gone, the next item could also sell out," said Paul Messinger, a professor at the U of A's School of Business who studied the sale of numerous items including ski passes and wine.

"Our research shows there's also an information cascade, where people infer that if a product is sold out, it must have been good and therefore a similar available product will also be desirable," he said.

The study, published this month in the Journal of Retailing, found 61 per cent of shoppers would buy a particular five-hour ski pass for $20, but that figure rose to 91 per cent when they thought a 10-hour ski pass for the same mountain slope for $40 had sold out.

A similar study of merlot wines found 49 per cent of consumers would buy a bottle if they had one choice, but when they thought a similar wine had sold out next to it on the shelf, nearly twice the number of shoppers would take home the available bottle.

"The use of sold-out signs creates a sense of urgency," said Messinger. The annual phenomenon of a hot toy selling out at Christmas can also be attributed to the information cascade theory, he said.

"You're dealing with toys that parents don't know if their children will like, but millions of consumers are buying it, so they infer that because the item is being purchased, it must be good."

While empty shelves can be frustrating for consumers, Messinger and his co-authors note that the occasional sold-out product can also be a good thing for stores and manufacturers in order to help encourage a sale.

"A lack of stock for common items can indicate to consumers that a store is not managed properly because supply wasn't ordered properly. But for newer items, stores can use it as a message: it wasn't that they didn't order enough, it may be that the product was just selling so fast that nobody could anticipate it, so buy it while you can."

Xin Gea from the University of Northern British Columbia and Jin Li from North Dakota State University were the co-authors of the study, "Influence of sold-out products on consumer choice."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Sold-out Products Influence Consumer Choice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929133252.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2009, September 29). Sold-out Products Influence Consumer Choice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929133252.htm
University of Alberta. "Sold-out Products Influence Consumer Choice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929133252.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins