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Journal of Consumer Psychology

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Consumers -- United States, Motivation research (Marketing), Shopping -- United States, Electronic commerce, Grocery trade -- United States


Four online grocery‐shopping experiments and one field study using video‐tracking technology at a grocery store document how shoppers’ motivation evolves from the beginning to the end of their shopping trips. We uncover unique motivational patterns as shoppers achieve multiple subgoals (i.e., choose multiple grocery items) to complete their trips: a monotonic decrease in motivation for shoppers with a shopping list versus a curvilinear trend (i.e., decrease then increase) in motivation for shoppers without a list. In addition, we demonstrate how to reverse the observed patterns for shoppers with a list by changing their reference points for tracking progress. The discovery of the moderating role of shopping‐list usage adds to the bubbling dialogue in goal pursuit and shopper psychology research concerning how consumer motivation follows either a monotonic trend (e.g., a goal gradient effect) or a nonmonotonic trend (e.g., the stuck‐in‐the‐middle effect). Importantly, we demonstrate how the stuck‐in‐the‐middle theory, which applies to single‐goal pursuits, can apply more broadly to the domain of grocery shopping, which consists of the generation and completion of multiple subgoals.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Suher, J., Huang, S. C., & Lee, L. (2019). Planning for Multiple Shopping Goals in the Marketplace. Journal of Consumer Psychology., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving

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