Myopia and choice: framing, screening and shopping
Contemporary accounts of customer behaviour emphasise reductionism and rationality. They are myopic since they construct customers as homogenous, or reducible to types, and motivated by discrete, separable forces. In Levitt's terms, current research into customer behaviour has been more concerned with the mechanics of selling than marketing, and this is a cause and consequence of contemporary 'marketing myopia'. Taking retail as our context, we advocate greater diversity in representing the complexities of customer behaviour. We summarise contemporary thinking on choice in the customer behaviour literature and critique two commonly used ways of representing choice: trait/type accounts, and stimulus – organism - response models. We then propose and outline an alternative framework for thinking about shopper choice based on Beach's (1990, 1998) image theory. The paper draws out implications for merchandising, and proposes a research agenda.
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