A while back I asked my friends and family on Facebook whether they would help me out with my graduation research. I had spent the weeks prior to this designing an experiment, which would be capable of testing my research model. Prior to participating in the experiment I told people little about what exactly it was I would be testing, now that the experiment is concluded I can, and will elaborate. So here it goes.
TLDR; clean, symmetrical sites have a stronger effect on shoppers with a purchase goal in mind, than on window-shoppers, the effect of big inspiring visuals is minimal, and could even be distracting from the purchasing goal at hand.
The premise of my study was an obvious one: a pretty webshop should sell more products than an ugly one. Of course it was a little more detailed than that: design was defined in two categories, expressive design and classic design. The first category consists of visual markers which are unique, inspiring, intriguing, seducing even, while the second category consists of aspects such as symmetry, clearness, readability and focus.
Previous experiments found that while both categories had a positive influence on buying intentions, the effect of classic design was much stronger. And when we think of it, this is quite logical. When we are shopping on the internet we usually have a certain goal in mind, we want to buy computer hardware, book a holiday or whatever. And as there are thousands of products available we do not want to be distracted by huge visual effects, we want to know what the product is capable of, and how it compares to its competitors.
This is where my research comes in. As previous experiments merely focussed on customers as being just that, I saw a research gap where I could fit in. While the statement in the previous paragraph holds true for a lot of people, it does not for everyone. All too often I find myself just browsing the web, looking for pretty, or awesome, or unique items, and suddenly finding the urge to make a purchase. Following this example we are able to distinguish customers into two groups: shoppers with a pre-existing purchase goal and shoppers without such a goal; in brick-and-mortar shops we would call these window-shoppers.
So after some additional literature studies and model building I came to the following hypothesis:
Shoppers with a purchase goal will be more inclined to make a purchase on webshops with mainly classic design elements, while shoppers without a purchase goal will be more inclined to make a purchase on webshops with mainly expressive design elements.
In my experiment I selected 7 webshops, four of which should have a mainly expressive design, and three of which should have a mainly classic design. Half of the participants were assigned a purchase task at random, and each participant rated 4 webshops.
At first inspection of the data I immediately found a problem with the outlines of my framework, I figured that webshops would be either expressive or classic, and certainly not both. However, this was not the case as you can see in the chart below.
It is important to note that this is a major limitation of my experiment, as I don’t have any webshops which scored only high points on one of the categories, so it is likely that there will be a lot of noise in the results. Nevertheless, I was able to draw the following conclusions about the hypothesis:
The effect of classic design elements is a lot stronger for shoppers with a purchase goal, than for shoppers without this goal. As there is little distraction, goal-oriented shoppers are more likely to continue focusing on the purchase task until it is completed, without hesitation, additional consultation, or search; with a higher chance of re-visit. Hedonic shoppers however, are more likely to leave soon; lower chance of re-visit.
The other aspect of the hypothesis however, cannot be accepted based on the data. There were no significant differences between the buying intentions of both groups of shoppers.
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How Samuel L. Jackson would greet a guy taking his daughter on a date.
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Stephen Colbert shared a few strong opinions on the Colbert Report last night. His book America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is a Hachette title, one we happily ship without delay. Watch the episode and download the “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon” sticker at the show’s website.
Don’t fuck around with Colbert…Source: universitybookstore
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