An Eye-Fixation Analysis of Choice Processes for Consumer Nondurables
The nature of the choice process for commonly purchased nondurables was examined by tracking eye fixations in a laboratory simulation of supermarket shelving. The observed process contains three stages that were interpreted as (1) orientation, (2) evaluation, and (3) verification. Orientation consisted of an overview of the product display, although some initial screening out of alternatives also occurred. The evaluation stage, the longest by far, was dominated by direct comparisons between two or three alternative products. The last stage, devoted to verification of the tentatively chosen brand-size, mainly examined alternatives with few or no previous fixations. Greater familiarity with a product category led to a choice process that was shorter and that focused on fewer alternatives, but these effects were confined to the evaluation stage. The findings are fully compatible with the general view that the choice process is constructed to adapt to the immediate purchase environment. Copyright 1994 by the University of Chicago.
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