Satisfaction and shopping for others: revisiting expectancy disconfirmation theory
Most individuals engage in shopping for others, whether in the search for a special gift for someone else or simply during routine household shopping. While many of the purchases most of us make are for other peoples' use, existing shopping research generally assumes that the person purchasing the product and the person using the product are the same person. This research looks at shopping situations in which the purchaser of a product and the user of this product are different people. I specifically look at how satisfaction may be different for those shopping for themselves versus someone else. The primary question of interest for this research is: Overall, what are the differences in expectations and outcomes when one is shopping for him/herself versus when one is shopping for someone else? Does role shopping motivation have an impact, or make a difference? This research attempts to answer this question using two studies. The first study is a scenario-based experiment investigating how the purchaser's satisfaction with the shopping trip may be impacted by how the user reacts to the product purchased for him/her. In this experiment, both the purchaser's shopping experience and the user's reaction to the product are manipulated at three levels (positive disconfirmation, simple confirmation, and negative disconfirmation) in order to understand how the purchaser's satisfaction might change in response to the user's product evaluation. The second study is a survey of actual shoppers investigating differences among those shopping for themselves and those shopping for someone else. Here, differences in satisfaction and the subsequent effect on behaviors between these two groups are investigated. The effect of role shopping motivation on these relationships is also examined.