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Consumer perceptions of online shopping environments : a gestalt approach

Demangeot, Catherine and Broderick, Amanda J. (2010) Consumer perceptions of online shopping environments : a gestalt approach. Psychology and Marketing, 27 (2). pp. 117-140. ISSN 0742-6046

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Abstract

Although web pages and sites consist of a multitude of individual cues, this paper argues that marketers need a gestalt approach to understand how consumers perceive online shopping environments. Following a systematic review of the literature on categorizations of online shopping environments, this paper develops and tests a gestalt model of consumer perceptions of online shopping environments. The model shows that consumers perceive online shopping environments, in terms of their sense-making and exploratory potential. It encompasses perceptions at the level of both individual pages and the experience consisting of the navigation through a succession of pages accessed during one visit. It also accounts for the informational needs all shoppers possess, reflected in the central role of information in online shopping environments. The model confirms the importance of the three main categories investigated in the literature (ease of understanding, informativeness and involving qualities), but provides a theoretically grounded explanation of how consumers perceive online shopping environments holistically. It can form a basis from which to envisage organismic and behavioral responses.