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Are Fashion Consumers like Schooling Fish? The Effectiveness of Popularity Cues Used in E-Commerce

by Shubin Yu*, Liselot Hudders, Verolien Cauberghe

ARTICLE | Journal of Business Research | Vol. 85, 2018


This paper examines the effectiveness of popularity cues in online fashion retail. Despite the fact that popularity cues have shown to be effective, we expect that popularity cues can be detrimental to expressive products like fashion products under certain conditions. Two experimental studies were conducted. The first study adopted a single-factor (popularity vs. no cue) between-subjects design. The results revealed that consumers exhibited a negative attitude toward the brand (Ab) for fashion products with a popularity cue vs. no cue. In the second study, a 2 (popularity vs. no cue) by 2 (conspicuous vs. non-conspicuous fashion product) by 3 (low vs. medium vs. high price) between-subjects factorial design was conducted. Upon running a series of moderated mediation analyses, the results showed that the price level and the product conspicuousness moderated the indirect effect of popularity cues on Ab through perceived quality.
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