Shopping Under the Influence of Curiosity: How Retailers Use Mystery to Drive Purchase Motivation

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Mystery appeals are gaining popularity as a shopper marketing strategy. In this practice, firms intentionally restrict information about their offerings in order to pique consumer curiosity and drive purchase motivation. The present research examines curiosity's role in influencing consumer behavior. Study 1 reveals that mystery appeals create more curiosity than other affective states, and that curiosity predicts purchase motivation via a direct path. Exploring the optimal level of information needed to maximize curiosity, study 1 finds that participants are more curious when given moderate information, over minimal information. Next, study 2 demonstrates that shopping in an actively curious state can impact consumer outcomes via an indirect path that is mediated by consumer evaluation of the mystery appeal. This research is the first to identify curiosity as the affective state that is primarily triggered by mystery appeals, and to explain how curiosity directly and indirectly impacts consumer purchase motivation.

Original Citation

Hill, K.M., Fombelle, P.W., & Sirianni, N.J. (2015). Shopping under the Influence of Curiosity: How Retailers Use Mystery to Drive Purchase Motivation. Journal of Business Research, 69(3), 1028-1034. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.08.015