When and Why We Forget to Buy

Journal of Consumer Psychology (Forthcoming)

18 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2015 Last revised: 20 Nov 2015

See all articles by Daniel Fernandes

Daniel Fernandes

Catholic University of Portugal

S. Puntoni

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Stijn M. J. van Osselaer

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Elizabeth Cowley

University of Sydney Business School

Date Written: October 19, 2015

Abstract

We examine consumers' forgetting to buy items they intended to buy. We show that the propensity to forget depends on the types of items consumers intend to purchase and the way consumers shop. Consumers may shop using a memory-based search by recalling their planned purchases from memory and directly searching for the products. For example, consumers may use the search function at an online store. Alternatively, consumers may use a stimulus-based search by systematically moving through a store, visually scanning the inventory and selecting the required items as they are encountered. Using an online shopping paradigm, we show that consumers are more likely to forget the items they infrequently buy when using the memory-based search, but not when using the stimulus-based search. In fact, when using the stimulus-based search, consumers are sometimes even better able to remember the items they infrequently (vs. frequently) buy. Moreover, consumers fail to take these factors into account when predicting their memory. As a result, they do not take appropriate actions to prevent forgetting (e.g., using a shopping list).

Keywords: Memory; Metamemory; Consideration sets; Shopping lists; Memory-based search; Stimulus-based search

Suggested Citation

Fernandes, Daniel and Puntoni, Stefano and van Osselaer, Stijn M. J. and Cowley, Elizabeth, When and Why We Forget to Buy (October 19, 2015). Journal of Consumer Psychology (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2675993

Daniel Fernandes (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Portugal ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

Stefano Puntoni

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Stijn M. J. Van Osselaer

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Elizabeth Cowley

University of Sydney Business School ( email )

Cnr. of Codrington and Rose Streets
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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