Psychological Correlates of a Proneness to Deals: a Domain-Specific Analysis

Donald R. Lichtenstein, University of Colorado
Scot Burton, University of Arkansas
Richard G. Netemeyer, Louisiana State University
ABSTRACT - Hypotheses are offered for differential relationships between six constructs with implications for consumer behavior (e.g., brand loyalty, impulsiveness, need for cognition) and eight domain-specific deal proneness constructs (e.g., display proneness, sale proneness, coupon proneness). Different from much sales promotion research which relies on scanner data, deal proneness is treated as a latent construct rather than as a behavior. The premise of the paper is that the individual proneness constructs have differential relationships with the aforementioned psychological constructs. Findings from two studies conducted in different geographic regions using samples of grocery shoppers provide support for this premise. Findings highlight the importance of treating deal proneness as a latent, domain-specific construct for theory-based research.
[ to cite ]:
Donald R. Lichtenstein, Scot Burton, and Richard G. Netemeyer (1997) ,"Psychological Correlates of a Proneness to Deals: a Domain-Specific Analysis", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, eds. Merrie Brucks and Deborah J. MacInnis, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 274-280.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, 1997      Pages 274-280

PSYCHOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF A PRONENESS TO DEALS: A DOMAIN-SPECIFIC ANALYSIS

Donald R. Lichtenstein, University of Colorado

Scot Burton, University of Arkansas

Richard G. Netemeyer, Louisiana State University

ABSTRACT -

Hypotheses are offered for differential relationships between six constructs with implications for consumer behavior (e.g., brand loyalty, impulsiveness, need for cognition) and eight domain-specific deal proneness constructs (e.g., display proneness, sale proneness, coupon proneness). Different from much sales promotion research which relies on scanner data, deal proneness is treated as a latent construct rather than as a behavior. The premise of the paper is that the individual proneness constructs have differential relationships with the aforementioned psychological constructs. Findings from two studies conducted in different geographic regions using samples of grocery shoppers provide support for this premise. Findings highlight the importance of treating deal proneness as a latent, domain-specific construct for theory-based research.

In recent years, packaged goods manufacturers have allocated increasing amounts f their promotional budgets towards consumer sales promotions. Concommitant with this trend, academic researchers have paid increased attention to the effects of sales promotions on consumer shopping behavior (see Blattberg and Neslin (1990) and Blattberg, Briesch, and Fox (1995) for reviews). Many of these studies have relied on scanner data to investigate the impact of observable variables such as deal type, frequency, duration, depth, and retraction on deal-responsive behavior. While these studies are very valuable in providing estimates of response elasticities to these promotional mix variables, they are less valuable in providing insights into the psychological variables/processes which may underly deal proneness. Related to this, these studies have also typically treated deal proneness as isomorphic with deal-responsive behavior, i.e, those who respond to deals are deal prone. Thus, no differentiation is made between the latent deal proneness construct and manifestations of the construct.

Lichtenstein, Netemeyer, and Burton (1990, p. 56) have defined deal proneness as an "increased propensity to respond to a purchase offer because the form of the purchase offer positively affects purchase evaluations." Following this definition, deal-responsive behavior may be a manifestation of many variables (e.g., price consciousness, value consciousness) in addition to, or instead of, factors relating to the form of the deal (i.e., deal proneness). Adopting this approach suggests that equating deal proneness with deal-responsive behavior is inappropriate and may result in a confounding of deal proneness with other psychological variables (cf. Lichtenstein et al. 1990).

The purpose of this paper is to offer and assess theoretically-based hypotheses for the relationship between several psychological variables (e.g., impulsiveness, need for cognition) and several latent domain-specific deal proneness constructs (e.g., coupon proneness, rebate proneness). As such, this paper complements and represents a direct extension of the work of Lichtenstein, Netemeyer, and Burton (1995). These researchers conducted two studies in which they employed scaled measures of a proneness to respond to deals in each of eight domains (coupons, sales, cents-off labels, buy-one-get-one-free, rebates, displays, free-gift-with-purchase, and contest/sweepstakes) and related these scales to deal-responsive behaviors assessed unobtrusively in natural field settings. Lichtenstein et al. found evidence that the domain-specific deal proneness measures explained differential amounts of variance across deal-responsive behavioral domains in a manner consistent with a domain-specific conceptualization of deal proneness. For example, coupon proneness was more related to actual coupon-redemption behavior (than were the remaining 7 domain-specific deal proneness constructs), sale proneness was more related to sale-responsive behavior, display proneness was more related to display-responsive behavior, and so on. However, no insights were provided regarding the psychological variables or processes which might differentiate one type of deal proneness from another. To the degree that deal proneness is indeed domain-specific, pronenesses to alternative types of deals would be expected to have, to some degree, differing psychological correlates. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to investigate this issue. Using data gathered across two studies, this paper assesses hypotheses regarding relationships between pronenesses to alternative deal types and other psychological variables. (A portion of the data reported in the present paper is empirically related to a portion of the data reported in Lichtenstein et al. (1995). Specifically, Study 1 data in the present paper represents a subset of the data that was gathered (but not reported) as part of Study 2 in Lichtenstein et al. (1995); Study 2 in the present paper is an extension which does not relate to any data collection reported in Lichtenstein et al. (1995).)

Insights into psychological variables which may differentiate pronenesses to alternative deal tyes have important theoretical implications. For example, to the degree that differing psychological correlates are found across alternative deal types, evidence would be provided that theories used to explain deal proneness (e.g., object-perception principles of attribution theory (cf. Blattberg and Neslin 1990), economic utility theory (cf. Dodson, Tybout, and Sternthal (1978)) may be differentially applicable across deal types (e.g., coupons, sales, rebates).

While there is a paucity of research which measures psychological variables and links them to deal proneness, there have been some psychological-based explanations for postulated and/or obtained differences in deal-responsive behaviors. Drawing from this literature, in the following section of this paper hypotheses are offered for differential relationships between domain-specific deal proneness variables and various psychological constructs. Then, two studies are described which empirically assess these hypotheses. Finally, results and implications for theory are discussed.

HYPOTHESES

Economic utility theory suggests that consumers behave to maximize the return on their time and effort. Because rebates, contests, sales, and coupons are promotions located toward the "higher end" of the time/effort continuum, a proneness to these types of promotions implies the belief that the benefits of acting on promotions of all types (i.e., including ones requiring less time/effort) outweigh the time and effort required to do so. However, because response to cents-off, buy-one-get-one-free, free-gift-with-purchase, and display promotions represent more passive instore behaviors, they require less effort. Thus, a proneness to these types of promotions does not necessarily imply a general belief that the time and effort it takes to act on promotions, in general, are outweighed by the costs of doing so. This rationale is consistent with Schneider and Currim’s (1991) finding that consumers who are likely to act on "active-oriented" promotions (i.e., those requiring more effort outside of the store) are more likely to also act on lower effort "passive-oriented" promotions that require no out-of-store effort than vice-versa. Consequently, the following hypothesis is offered:

H1: Rebate, contest, sale, and coupon proneness are positively and differentially related to expected return on time and effort in responding to promotions in general.

It has often been postulated that deal proneness is negatively related to brand loyalty (e.g., Blattberg and Neslin 1990; Dodson et al. 1978). One rationale for this relationship is that deal prone consumers are simply more likely to respond to deals rather than brands. Hence, when brands go on and off deal, deal prone consumers follow the deal rather than the brand. Dodson et al. (1978) offered a more refined explanation for this effect by investigating if this relationship varied by deal type. They used self-perception theory as a framework for investigating the effect of promotions that varied in terms of financial benefit and effort required on brand switching behavior (taken as a measure of brand loyalty) . They found that when the effort reqired to act on a promotion was low and the benefit was high, consumers were more likely to switch brands upon deal retraction than when the promotion required a higher level of effort and/or a lower level of financial benefit. The theoretical explanation offered for this effect is that when consumers buy on deals providing relatively large benefits and requiring little effort, a plausible external reason for why the brand was purchased is present. In such instances, consumers are more likely to make purchase attributions to the deal (external attribution) rather than to their own preference for the brand (internal attribution). However, because deals offering less benefit and/or requiring more effort offer a less plausible reason for purchase, consumers are more likely to make internal purchase attributions (e.g., "I bought the brand because I like it."). When the deal is removed, the probability of repurchase is higher than if the benefit/cost ratio had been higher.

Applying this rationale to the domain-specific deal proneness, pronenesses associated with higher benefit/costs ratios should be those most negatively related to brand loyalty, while pronenesses associated with lower benefit/costs ratios should be those most positively related to brand loyalty. While it is difficult to order all eight deal types on a benefit/cost continuum, it does appear plausible to suggest sale proneness as the high endpoint. That is, grocery stores put many items on sale every week and the cumulative benefit to consumers can be very large (far exceeding benefits from less frequently offered promotions (e.g., free-gift deals). Moreover, while sale-responsive behavior often requires some out-of-store search behavior and/or some low-level monitoring of sale items once inside the store, there are no coupons to clip, contests to enter, or rebate forms to mail. Consequently, the following hypothesis are offered:

H2: Sale proneness is negatively and differentially related to brand loyalty.

"Impulse goods" generally require high visibility locations because they are often bought "on impulse" as unplanned purchases. Treating "impulse" as a trait (rather than as a product characteristic), Blattberg and Neslin (1990) suggest that impulsiveness may underlie purchasing from displays. Applying this rationale more broadly, impulsiveness may also be related to other deal-responsive behaviors associated with instore decision-making. Thus, H3 is offered:

H3: Cents-off, buy-one-get-one-free, free-gift-with-purchase, and display proneness are positively and differentially related to impulsiveness.

Sales often dramatically increase when a brand is put on display. Inman et al. (1990) suggest that this phenomenon may be due to consumers assuming displays are a signal of a price cut. They further postulated and found support for their hypothesis that the use of a special display as a signal for a price cut was related to the consumer’s "need for cognition" (Cacioppo, Petty, and Kao 1984). Consumers who have a higher need for cognition are less likely to assume that promotions are signals of price cuts than consumers with a lower need for cognition. The rationale underlying this phenomenon is that consumers who have a lower need for cognition are more likely to prcess promotional information peripherally, thereby increasing the likelihood that the promotion is not analyzed for its true meaning and value. However, consumers with a higher need for cognition are more likely to process information centrallyCa diligent and active processing of the information. Hence, H4 is offered:

H4: Display proneness is negatively and differentially related to need for cognition.

Based on this same rationale, because some deals are more likely to be processed via a central route, some types of deal proneness may be positively related to a need for cognition. For example, a contest is "where consumers apply their analytical or creative thinking to try to win a prize" (Berkowitz et al. 1994, p. 511). Thus, H5 is offered:

H5: Contest proneness is positively and differentially related to need for cognition.

There is also competing rationale suggesting both a positive and a negative relationship between coupon proneness and need for cognition. Schneider and Currim (1991) classify the redemptions of coupons as manifesting "active" deal proneness, requiring purposeful decision-making outside the store. They suggest that such active deal proneness may be positively related to need for cognition. Similarly, Henderson (1985) models the decision to redeem coupons as being very cognitively-driven, also suggesting a positive relationship between coupon proneness and need for cognition. On the other hand, because coupons are offered with such high frequency, Blattberg and Neslin (1990) suggest that coupon use may follow a script such that there is a "mindless" element to the act of redeeming coupons. That is, consumers may follow a script whereby they cut, collect, and redeem coupons, with limited cognitive effort. Consequently, based on these opposing rationales, we offer H6A-H6B:

H6A: Coupon proneness is positively and differentially related to need for cognition.

H6B: Coupon proneness is negatively and differentially related to need for cognition.

Some promotions result in a reduced purchase price. Thus, a proneness to these types of promotions should be positively related to price consciousness. Also, several researchers have suggested that price-quality beliefs may be negatively related to response to price promotions (cf. Blattberg and Neslin 1990). The rationale is that consumers who believe that "higher price means higher quality" are also more likely to make product-related attributions for promotional price discounts ("e.g., the product isn’t good enough to sell at its normal price"). Lichtenstein et al. (1993) found a negative relationship between coupon and sale proneness and price-quality inferences. Similarly, we predict a negative relationship between price-quality inferences and deal pronenesses associated with price reductions.

H7: Cents-off, rebate, sale, and coupon proneness are positively and differentially related to price consciousness.

H8: Cent-off, rebate, sale, and coupon proneness are negatively and differentially related to price-quality perceptions.

STUDY 1

To assess the hypotheses, consumers’ proneness to promotions was examined in each of the following domains: coupons, sales, cents-off labels, buy-one-get-one-free, free-gift-with-purchase, end-of-aisle displays, rebates/refunds, and contests/sweepstakes. These eight categories were selected because they appear to be among the most commonly employed promotions and they also represent a diversity of promotions in terms of psychological variables which may be related to them (Blattberg and Neslin 1990). Using scale development procedures similar to those advocated by Churchill (1979), multi-item scales for a proneness to respond were used for each of the eight deal categories. The multi-items scales for the eight proneness variables ranged from 5 to 7 items each. Additionally, an eight-item "generalized deal pronenenss" scale was also developed for use as a covariate in order to remove variance in the psychological variables that could be accounted for by the portion of the general deal proneness domain that the domain-specific constructs shared. Scale items for this generalized measure made no reference to any particular type of deal, but rather, only referred to "deals" or "promotions" in general. (The scale development procedures and psychometric properties for all of the scales are provided in detail in Lichtenstein et al. (1995)). Sample items for rebate and buy-one-get-one-free proneness are: "Beyond the money I save, buying products that offer a rebate gives me a sense of joy" and "When I take advantage of a 'buy-one-get-one-free’ offer, I feel good." Items for other constructs have similar wording. A sample item for the generalized deal proneness measure is "I feel like a successful shopper when I purchase products that offer special promotions." (The full list of scale items can be obtained by contacting the first author.)

Data were collected via a mail survey distributed to shoppers at two grocery stores (same chain) in a midwestern SMSA. If the shopper agreed to participate, they were given a take-home survey and a postage-paid return envelope. The survey contained the multi-item measures of the domain-specific and generalized deal proneness constructs as well as measures of various psychological constructs referenced in H1-H8. For these latter psychological constructs, where established measures existed, they were used; where they did not exist, items were developed and pretested prior to Study1. These constructs, reliability estimates, and sample items are shown in Table 1. Of the 896 surveys distributed to respondents, 402 (44.9%) usable surveys were returned. Of those, 77.9% were female and 67.3% were married. The median age category was 35-44 and the median annual household income category was $35,000 to $49,999.

Study 1 Results

Study hypotheses were tested via hierarchical regression analysis. The psychological variable hypothesized to be differentially related to the domain-specific deal proneness variables was employed as the dependent variable. The generalized deal proneness measure was entered in the regression in step 1, followed by entry of the eight domain-specific measures in step 2. Results of this analysis are reported in Table 2. (Ignore Study 2 results for the moment.)

Consistent with H1, rebate, sale, and coupon proneness were significant positive predictors of the perception that responding to promotional offers is worth the required time and effort (and display proneness was negatively related to this variable). In accord with H2, sale proneness was negatively related to the propensity to be brand loyal (ad display proneness was positively related to this variable). Consistent with H3, buy-one-get-one-free, free-gift-with-purchase, and display proneness were all positively related to impulsiveness (while rebate and sale proneness were negatively related to this variable). Consistent with H4, display proneness was negatively related to need for cognition; inconsistent with H5, however, contest proneness was not positively correlated to need for cognition, yet free-gift-with-purchase proneness was. In accord with H6B, coupon proneness was negatively related to need for cognition. Consistent with H7, rebate and sale proneness were positively related to price consciousness. Finally, in accord with H8, rebate and sale proneness were negatively related to the propensity to make price-quality inferences (and display proneness was positively related to this variable).

Discussion of Study 1 Results

Of the 19 significant relationships, 13 were explicitly hypothesized and there was only one case in which there was a hypothesis that failed to receive any support (H5), however, the relationship was in the hypothesized direction. And, with one exception (the relationship between free-gift proneness and need for cognition), all of the domain-specific variables that were significant in a hypothesized direction comprised a subset of those that were hypothesized. That not all hypothesized proneness variables were significant is not viewed as inconsistent with theory. Rather, it is characteristic of sales promotion models which have correlated predictor variables (cf. Blattberg and Neslin 1990, p. 195).

Regarding the 6 unhypothesized significant effects, at least 3 were not "theoretically-inconsistent" in that they were in the direction opposite of hypothesized and found effects. For example, while display proneness was hypothesized and found to be positively related to impulsiveness, rebate and sale proneness, while not specifically hypothesized, were found to be negatively related to impulsiveness. Yet, the same rationale for the hypothesized effect could easily be offered for these effects, i.e., as display proneness should be positively related to impulsiveness, promotions such as sales and rebates requiring more purposeful behavior should be negatively related to impulsiveness. The negative relationship between display proneness and expected return on time and effort can be interpreted similarly.

The unhypothesized finding between display proneness and price-quality beliefs warrants particular attention and may suggest a post-hoc explanation that goes beyond rationale offered in the hypotheses. As display proneness is also negatively related to need for cognition, display proneness may be related to a general propensity to inference. For example, Inman et. al. (1990) found that consumers with a lower need for cognition were more likely to infer that displayed items are also price-reduced. Thus, it appears plausible to suggest display prone consumers may be more likely to make other inferences based on signals, e.g., using price to infer quality.

TABLE 1

PSYCHOLOGICAL CORRELATES EXAMINED IN STUDIES 1 AND 2

STUDY 2

The second study represented a replication of Study 1. The purpose for this replication was twofold. The first purpose was to assess whether domain-specific variables found to be significant predictors of the psychological variables would again represent a subset of those hypothesized to be. The second purpose of Study 2 was to assess the post-hoc explanation offered for the relationship found in Study 1 between display proneness and price-quality inferences. Consistent with this explanation, we offer the following hypothesis:

H9: Display proneness is positively and differentially related to price-quality perceptions.

Overview of Study 2

Study 2 was conducted using shoppers contacted at a grocery store in a different geographic region of the country. Shoppers were approached and asked if they would complete a take-home survey (similar to that used for Study 1) and mail it back to the local university. Of the 500 surveys distributed over a 3 day period, 163 were returned and usable (response rate=32.6%). Most respondents were female (85.4%) and 82.3% were married. The median age category was 35-44, and the median household income category was $25,000-$34,999.

Study 2 Results

Identical to Study 1 procedures, for each regression, generalized deal proneness was initially entered as the sole predictor, followed by the deal-specific measures. Results are shown in Table 2. Consistent with H1, rebate and sale proneness were positive predictors of the perception that responding to promotional offers, in general, is worth the required time and effort (and buy-one-get-one-free proneness was negatively related to this dependent variable). In accord with H2, sale proneness was negatively related to the propensity to be brand loyal (while buy-one-get-one-free was positively related to this variable). Consistent with H3, display proneness was positively related to impulsiveness (while both rebate and coupon proneness were negatively related to this dependent variable), offering further support for differences across deal types. However, although results for need for cognition were generally in the postulated direction, they did not reach statistical significance and thus did not support hypotheses concerning this variable (H4-H6).

TABLE 2

HIERARCHICAL REGRESSION ANALYSIS STANDARDIZED BETA COEFFICIENTS FOR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN DEAL PRONENESS CONCEPTUALIZATIONS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL VARIABLES FOR STUDIES 1 AND 2

Consistent with H7, sale proneness was positively related to price consciousness, however, inconsistent with H8, none of the price-related deal pronenesses were negatively related to the propensity to make price-quality inferences. In accord with H9, the relationship between display proneness and price-quality beliefs was positive, yet inconsistent with predictions, so was the relationship between free-gift-with-purchase and price-quality beliefs.

Discussion of Study 2 Results

With three exceptions, all of the significant relationships between the psychological and domain-specific variables were either: (1) specifically hypothesized, or (2) unhypothesized but not "theory inconsistent." Moreover, seven of the same specific relationships are significant across both Studies 1 and 2. Six of these relationships were hypothesized, while the seventh is consistent with the hypothesis of differences across deal types. Considering the results of Studies 1 and 2 jointly, there were 23 cases in which the relationship between a particular domain-specific variable and a particular psychological variable was significant in either one or both of the studies. In 21 of these cases, the corresponding coefficient in the other study was in the same direction, providing evidence of stability. In the two cases where the corresponding effect was in a direction opposite of the significant effect, both were insignificant.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS

The purpose of the studies reported in this paper was to assess if alternative types of deal proneness had differing psychological correlates. In both studies, the domain-specific variables related to psychological variables in a manner which suggest that the psychogical processes underlying deal proneness may depend on the particular deal proneness domain. The importance of this finding appears most clear in instances when a psychological construct is positively related to one type of deal proneness, yet negatively related to another. For example, across two studies, rebate proneness was negatively related to impulsiveness, while display proneness was positively related to this construct. Sale proneness was negatively related to price-quality inferences, while display proneness was positively related to this inference.

These findings suggest that researchers testing theoretical relationships between possible antecedents, correlates, or consequences of deal proneness should carefully consider the type(s) of deals to which their theory relates. It is very likely that alternative theories that might be applied to deal proneness will not be appropriate across all deals types. Consequently, these findings call into question the validity of statements such as "self-perception theory would predict that deal proneness could be negatively related to brand loyalty" (Blattberg and Neslin 1990, p.72). Based on our results, statements such as "deal proneness is positively (or negatively) related to X" are ambiguous and beg the question of "which type of deal proneness?"

Results reported in the present study, interpreted in conjunction with those reported in Lichtenstein et al. (1995), also support arguments advanced at the outset of this paper regarding the problems associated with behavioral measurement of deal proneness. Using a behavioral operationalization of deal proneness, behaviors that would be equated with some particular type of deal proneness may actually be a manifestation of multiple types of deal proneness, as well as other constructs outside of the deal proneness domain. For example, the purchase of unadvertised sale items was used as a dependent variable in Lichtenstein et al.’s (1995) Study 2. As both sale and display proneness were positive predictors of this behavior (and other variables such as price consciousness may also be), it would seem inappropriate to equate sale-responsive behavior with any single construct, including sale proneness. Since unadvertised sale items (as well as advertised sale items) are often put on display, both sale and display proneness may manifest themselves in sale-responsive behavior. Moreover, by looking at differences in relationships between these two proneness constructs and other behaviors (e.g., looking at the weekly sale ad, preparation of shopping listCalso reported in Lichtenstein et al. (1995)), and differences in all six psychological correlates investigated in Studies 1 and 2 (see Table 2), it becomes apparent that display and sale proneness are quite different constructs that, at times, may have common behavioral manifestations. These findings support the notion that deal proneness should be measured at a psychological level and treated as an antecedent of deal-responsive behavior.

Regarding substantive insights into the domain-specific variables, based on regression analyses with psychological correlates across two studies, an expanded perspective can be offered for four of the domain-specific proneness constructs.

Sale Proneness

In relation to other forms of deal proneness that are associated with price reductions, sale proneness was most strongly related to price consciousness. This may be due to the total integration of a sale with the purchase price. Sale proneness was also negatively related to price-quality perceptions in Study 1, suggesting that when consumers act on their sale proneness, they are unlikely to believe they are sacrificing quality by doing so. The total integration of a sale with purchse price also reduces the burden required of shoppers. For example, while acting on sale proneness may require some out-of-store search behavior, there are no coupons to clip and redeem or rebates to mail. This lack of required effort may be the reason that sale proneness was most positively related to return on the consumer’s time and effort across Studies 1 and 2. Yet, it may also be the reason that sale proneness is most negatively related to brand loyalty across both studies (i.e., consumers make attributions to the deal rather than to their liking of the brand).

At a more nomological level, the pattern of relationships between several of the domain-specific variables, expected return on time and effort, and brand loyalty provides support for the attribution-based relationship between benefit/cost ratios and brand loyalty offered by Dodson et al. (1978). Specifically, across Studies 1 and 2, domain-specific variables that related significantly to expected return on time and effort in one direction were typically related to brand loyalty in the opposite direction. These relationships suggest that as the benefit/cost ratio increases, brand loyalty decreases. The nature of these findings differ from those of Dodson et al. (1978) in a very important way. Here, deals were not manipulated and brand-switching behavior was not measured. Rather, individual difference variables of a proneness to deals and a general propensity to be brand loyal are measured and are related to each other. Reaching a similar conclusion based on a very different type of study provides additional support for the attribution-based rationale of Dodson et al. (1978).

Rebate Proneness

With the exception of brand loyalty, the pattern of relationships between rebate proneness and the psychological variables were largely consistent with those involving sale proneness. However, rebate and sale proneness did differ in a theoretically-consistent manner in their relationship with brand loyalty. As responding to rebates involves a larger amount of effort, rebate proneness appears not to undermine the propensity to be brand loyal.

Coupon Proneness

Coupon proneness appears to be related to the belief that the time and effort required to "get a deal" is worth it, and thus, a willingness to spend more time in the grocery store (see relationship with time spent in grocery store reported in Lichtenstein et al. (1995)). However, consistent with the perspective of Blattberg and Neslin (1990), the activity seems to be pursued somewhat "mindlessly" (as suggested by the negative relationship with need for cognition). Consistent with results found for rebates, the effort associated with coupon proneness apparently serves not to undermine brand loyalty as it seems to do for sale proneness. It is also interesting to note that, while sale proneness was positively related to price consciousness, coupon proneness was not. These differential relationships may be partially due to the fact that sales are integrated into the purchase price and coupons are not.

Display Proneness

The correlates of display proneness differ vastly and systematically from correlates of the other types of deal proneness. Display proneness is more strongly positively related to impulsiveness and negatively related to the use of a shopping list (see Lichtenstein et al. 1995) than are other types of deal proneness. Also, based on the positive correlations with price-quality perceptions and negative correlations with need for cognition, it appears that display proneness may be associated with a stronger propensity to inference in general.

Implications for Future Research

Lichtenstein et. al (1995) providd evidence that deal proneness was a domain-specific construct. The present study extends this work by providing evidence that the different domain-specific constructs have some differing psychological correlates. These results are viewed as important for future theory tests. Specifically, results of the present study suggest that theories which have constructs which may relate to benefit/cost ratios, impulsiveness, brand loyalty, price consciousness, price-quality inferences, and need for cognition may relate differentially to different types of promotions. Additionally, domain-specific deal proneness measures may relate differentially to many other psychological correlates not tested here, but nevertheless, have important implications for theory tests. Therefore, it is recommended that researchers wishing to test theories of sales promotions carefully consider the particular type(s) of sales promotions to which the theory might relate prior to empirically testing those theories.

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