Shopping context and consumers’ mental representation of complex shopping trip decision problems
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Depending on the shopping context, consumers may develop different mental representations of complex shopping trip decision problems to help them interpret the decision situation that they face and evaluate alternative courses of action. To investigate these mental representations and how they vary across contexts, the authors propose a causal network structure that allows for a formal representation of how context-specific benefits requirements affect consumers’ evaluation of decision alternative attributes. They empirically test hypotheses derived from the framework, using data on consumers’ mental representations of a complex shopping trip decision problem across four shopping contexts that differ in terms of opening hour restrictions and shopping purpose, and find support for the proposed structure and hypotheses.