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Elements of task definition shopping situations: A study in context of products high on haptic salience


  • Abhishek
  • Sinha, Piyush Kumar


Marketing literature has identified task definitions as one of the important situational influences. Task definition features of a situation include an intent or requirement to select, shop for, or obtain information about a general or specific purchase. Researchers have tried to define planned and emergency shopping situations on basis of amount spent on trip and by customer-generated measures on the purpose of the shopping trip. In the studies using behavioral data, either an individual cut-off or an aggregate cut-off has been used. All these definitions of planned and emergency shopping situations are driven from practitioners’ perspective and suffer from operationalization issues. This brings to fore a need to enhance the understanding about the concept of task definition. In this study, we make an attempt to understand and define the concept of task definition from customers’ perspective. Based on the thematic analysis of data collected through qualitative interviews, we identify the elements of task definitions which customers consider salient in distinguishing between different task definitions. We conclude, based on the additional analysis of comparison of these elements across different product categories, that it is also important to consider the finer point in elements across two product categories for same type of shopping trip.

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  • Abhishek & Sinha, Piyush Kumar, 2014. "Elements of task definition shopping situations: A study in context of products high on haptic salience," IIMA Working Papers WP2014-03-09, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:iim:iimawp:12821

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David R. Bell & James M. Lattin, 1998. "Shopping Behavior and Consumer Preference for Store Price Format: Why “Large Basket” Shoppers Prefer EDLP," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 66-88.
    2. Belk, Russell W, 1975. " Situational Variables and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 157-164, December.
    3. Walters, Rockney G. & Jamil, Maqbul, 2003. "Exploring the relationships between shopping trip type, purchases of products on promotion, and shopping basket profit," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 17-29, January.
    4. Holbrook, Morris B. & Gardner, Meryl P., 1998. "How Motivation Moderates the Effects of Emotions on the Duration of Consumption," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 241-252, July.
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