Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

Search modality effects: merely changing product search modality alters purchase intentions

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Search modality is becoming increasingly important for Internet platforms and e-commerce businesses. Consumers can perform product searches on the Internet by typing their search queries (typed search modality) or by speaking them (voice search modality). Given the variation and the managerial ease of selecting different search modalities to adopt, we investigate the consequences of search modalities on consumers’ mindsets and purchase intentions. Six studies, including an Implicit Association Test and an incentive-compatible field experiment, show that typed search modality (vs. voice search modality) led to higher purchase intentions and behavior. This results from learned responses where typing is nonconsciously associated with taking action, and vocalization is nonconsciously associated with information gathering and deliberation. Thus, consumers performing a typed search are more likely to be in an action-oriented mindset, whereas consumers performing a voice search are more likely to be in a deliberative mindset. Our research carries implications for digital technologies.


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J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci.