Department of Management

Price knowledge during grocery shopping: What we learn and what we forget

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Past research on consumer price knowledge has varied considerably partly due to differences in how and when price knowledge is measured.This paper applies a multi-point, multi-measure approach to reconcile differences in past price knowledge research by examining systematicrelationships between time of measurement and type of measures applied. Examination of consumer price knowledge before, during, and afterstore visit sheds light on what is measured at the individual points in time: episodic price knowledge and/or reference prices? With a between-subjects design interviewing 1,204 respondents, the authors investigate three price knowledge measures (price recall, price recognition, and dealspotting) demonstrating that these are hierarchically related. Results suggest that reference prices dominate before store visit, but also that episodicprice knowledge, surprisingly, is still accessible at the store exit. These findings enable the authors to reconcile diverging results from past research,showing how consumer price knowledge evolves and suggesting that the vast majority of consumers learn about prices, whether consciously orunconsciously, during grocery shopping. Thus, when applying a multi-point, multi-measure approach, consumers appear to know more aboutprices than suggested by past research. Determinants of price knowledge are also examined and the results indicate that price knowledge buildsup not only because of active search but also due to accidental exposure to prices and with low degrees of conscious processing. Implications formanagers are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Retailing
Volume90
Issue3
Pages (from-to)332–346
Number of pages15
ISSN0022-4359
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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