The Influence of Audible Stimuli on Consumers in E-commerce Environments

Lehr, Jan (2023) The Influence of Audible Stimuli on Consumers in E-commerce Environments. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/9PW66QQ3

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Purpose The influence of background music on consumer behaviour in shopping environments has interested researchers for decades, and a range of studies have investigated the impact of a variety of musical stimuli in different environments. Results are relevant for marketing practitioners and managers, who constantly seek to optimize their sales environments, with the aim of customers having the most pleasant buying experience and consequently increasing their spending. With the growth of online sales in recent years, researchers’ interest in shopping environments has again increased. However, compared to the number of studies in traditional offline environments, online research has been limited. Moreover, online studies are constrained to laboratory experiments, with relatively small sample sizes and often of poor design. This research aims to contribute to knowledge on online consumer behaviour by conducting a large-scale field study to establish how and to what extent background music (altered in genre/loudness/tempo) influences consumer behaviour in a real-life setting. Methodology In this field study, product videos were implemented in an online shop of a German company and accompanied by different variations of background music. Three consecutive experiments in three time periods with different musical stimuli were conducted, and in a quantitative approach, real-time data on the behaviour of all website visitors in the online shop were collected. The experiments examined (a) customer behaviour in terms of conversion, (b) if converted, payment method, and (c) if effects were mediated by session duration (time on the website). The conversion probabilities were subsequently analysed using a linear probability model (LPM). Findings The analysis of the data from all three experiments showed that background music (of all variations of genre, tempo or loudness) a) has no significant influence on consumers’ decisions regarding conversions, b) that there is no significant influence on the payment method, accordingly c) the hypotheses regarding mediation effects could also be rejected. Contributions One of the main contributions of this study is that it is the first large-scale empirical field study conducted in the research area. The findings do not confirm those of previous laboratory studies in fictitious online shopping environments, which are themselves inconsistent. The results of this thesis support the theory that there is no effect of music on online consumer behaviour. Accordingly, the outcomes also indicate that, in general, the findings from laboratory studies on online consumer behaviour are not reproducible in practice due to the different environments to which website visitors are exposed. Practical Implications As an implication for practice, marketing practitioners should not, as a matter of everyday practice, use music in online shopping settings. If music is requested by the management, then an appropriate music selection should be carefully tested with the individual target group. Limitations / Suggestions for Future Research Suggestions for future research centre on using variations of the musical stimuli in all dimensions of the music used, and investigating other shopping websites and other forms of online shopping, Furthermore, variations in the experimental setup should be used, and finally, qualitative studies in this area should be carried out to offer a basis for further quantitative examination.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online consumer behaviour; Background music; Online shopping; Environmental
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5437-5444 Purchasing. Selling. Sales personnel. Sales executives
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2024 16:31
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 09:37

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