Fluent contextual image backgrounds enhance mental imagery and evaluations of experience products

Maier, E. and Dost, F. (2018) Fluent contextual image backgrounds enhance mental imagery and evaluations of experience products. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 45. pp. 207-220. ISSN 0969-6989

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Online shoppers rely on product images to gain information about products. Helpful product images allow a detailed mental imagery of the product and its use. Product images with a fitting contextual background, as opposed to a plain white background, increase such mental imagery and in turn product liking and purchase intent. This effect, however, is preceded by imagery fluency—the ease with which mental images come to mind in the first place. As a result, effective product images need to facilitate fluent perceptions, while also evoking fitting mental imagery. Two experimental studies confirm this pathway which links research on mental imagery with research on imagery fluency. Moreover, the experiments show that this effect of contextual backgrounds works for fitting but not for non-fitting backgrounds, better for ambiguous than unambiguous products, and for experience products, but not for search products. Online retailers could leverage contextual backgrounds in product images to enhance consumers’ evaluations of their merchandise as long as the beneficial effects via mental imagery outweigh the added photography costs. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 45, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2018.09.006
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? contextual backgroundexperience productsimagery fluencymental imageryproduct imagesmarketing ??
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Deposited On:
10 Jan 2019 15:20
Last Modified:
26 Jan 2024 01:23