“Window” shopping online : cognitive processing of general and specific product windows

Wise, Kevin and Alhabash, Saleem and Eckler, Petya (2013) “Window” shopping online : cognitive processing of general and specific product windows. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 13 (2). pp. 88-96. ISSN 1525-2019

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Abstract

In this study, 36 participants navigated Amazon.com while their on-screen activity and physiological responses were recorded. An analysis of on-screen activity showed online shopping as a series of transitions between general browsing array pages (e.g., computers) and specific product pages (e.g., Apple MacBook). We recorded physiological responses associated with cognition in the moments following the onset of each page type (general array/specific product). The onset of specific product pages elicited cardiac orienting responses indicating automatic resource allocation to encoding, while the onset of general array pages did not elicit cardiac orienting responses. Furthermore, the magnitude of heart rate deceleration during the orienting response was a significant predictor of how much time participants spent on specific product pages. This demonstrates that the cognitive processes of consumers on shopping websites systematically during transitions between general and specific pages. These results are explained in terms of cognitive resource allocation during online shopping and exposure to interactive marketing.