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The Dark Side of Quantity Discounts: Effects of the Missed Discount on Consumers Service Evaluations
The dark side of quantity discounts:Effects of the missed discount on consumers service evaluationsQuantity discounts are fundamental pricing strategies in industries. Quantity discountsoften come with restrictions or conditions specifying how many quantities consumer shouldbuy or how much money consumer should spend to obtain a promoted price. As consumers,for example, we have all seen advertisements like: “Buy 2, get 50% off” or “Buy 3, get 1free” or “Save NT$100 off your bills over NT$1000.” From the retailer's benefit perspective,the rationale behind this promotion strategy is that: (1) inventory holding costs may bepassed on to consumers; (2) repeated consumption that leads to habit formation may befacilitated; (3) the level of risk associated with the profit margins maybe reduced (Wansink,Kent, and Hoch, 1998; Teng, 2009). While previous studies have demonstrated that quantitydiscounts offer economic benefits to consumers, arouse consumers' positive emotions, andinfluence consumers' beliefs about the brand, which will thus increase consumers' brandpreferences and purchase intentions (Manning and Sprott, 2007; Wansink et al., 1998), littleis known about the negative effects of quantity discounts on consumers' service evaluationstoward retailers and its promotion strategy.To earn quantity discounts, a consumer must buy a pre-specified number of items inorder to receive the price discount. From the consumer's perspective, flexibility in decidingthe desired quantity to purchase may be reduced. Will consumers perceive the price as lessfair when they have problems (e.g., the size of preferred T-shirt is not available in the store)to meet the quantity threshold? How do consumers evaluate and response to the retailers'promotion strategies when a promoted price is denied because the quantity requirement isnot obtained? What factors influence a consumer to evaluate a certain deal more negativelythan another even through both may be equivalent on a unit cost and/or a total cost basis?Our objective is to investigate these issues by examining how retailers' quantity discountstrategies influence consumers' perception of price promotion fairness, negative emotion,dissatisfaction, and switching behavior in case of quantity discounts are missed discount. Inother words, this study focuses on exploring the dark side of quantity discounts.Several influential variables will be included, which are observed from promotionalpractices and previous theoretical findings. They are: price promotion frames, quantitythreshold, product-price levels, discount bases, discount levels, promotion scopes, discounttypes, reference prices, and retailers' motivations for quantity discounts. Sevenbetween-subject experimental studies will be conducted to test our research concepts in ahypothetical clothing store/shoe shop/leisure hotel/travel agency context.
零售商採行數量折扣策略對消費者負面評價之影響零售商時常推出各類促銷活動，像是「二件五折」、「買三送一」、「買千送百」等，其目的在於提高店內銷售額及利潤，並增加店內人潮。Dolan (1987) 指出這類促銷手法稱為數量折扣 (quantity discount)，意指隨著購買數量的增加，消費者所支付的單位價格越低。過去關於數量折扣的研究多專注在價格促銷的呈現型式、折扣深度、產品價格等對於消費者知覺價格節省和品牌購買行為的探討，然而卻忽略了錯誤的數量折扣策略可能對消費者產生的負面影響。數量折扣意味著消費者必需購買指定的數量才可獲得折扣，但是在現實生活中往往有許多原因（例如挑選不到合適的尺寸或喜歡的款示），導致消費者無法如零售業者所預期的達到購買數量條件而獲得折扣。當消費者無法達到數量折扣門檻而被迫放棄選擇時，零售商的數量折扣策略將對他們產生何種影響？本研究擬針對零售商經常採用的價格促銷手法為核心，探討在各種數量折扣策略下，當消費者錯過數量折扣時，可能引發的負面情緒、促銷策略公平性認知以及對零售商之滿意度和轉換意願的影響。此一研究議題不同於過去的研究專注在「應該採取何種價格促銷策略」以增進消費者的知覺節省，繼而強化產品購買的可能性。相反地，本研究旨在探討「如何避免不當的數量折扣策略」，以降低當消費者無法達到零售商之購買數量門檻而不能享有折扣時的衝擊。換言之，本研究關注的是「數量折扣的黑暗面」。相信研究結果將對零售商的數量折扣策略產生重大影響。
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