||With the fast development and diffusion of the Internet, e-commerce is gradually changing shopping behavior and business model, and has a high economic value where the academics and industries are worth investigating. In online shopping, it is important to understand how consumer processes tremendous amounts of information and then makes purchase from a vast market of e-sellers. More specifically, characteristics of human information processing such as selective perception and limited attention can cause cognitive biases which in turn will lead to irrational decision.|
Based on the theory of the framing effect and the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), this study conducted two experiments and used eye tracker to explore three research questions by observing eye movement and purchase intention: (1) Are there framing effects in e-commerce? (2) What influence does the framed message have in customers’ eye movements, which in turn affect purchases behavior? (3) What influence does the customers’ elaboration have in framing effect, eye movement, and purchase behavior?
The first experiment aimed to explore the framing effect on purchase intention and eye movement in online shopping. Besides, the experiment explored the predictive power of eye movement for purchase intention. The results showed that eye movement was more active when participants received a negatively framed message than when they received a positively framed message. Moreover, eye movement can predict purchase intention in the case of negative framing: a prolonged look at information of functional attributes (transaction-related cost or profit) is associated with high (low) purchase intention.
The second experiment aimed to explore the moderating effect of elaboration based on ELM and the first experiment. The results showed that the high elaboration is more susceptible to the framing effect on purchase intention, while the low elaboration is more susceptible to the framing effect on eye movement. The results also showed that eye movements are capable of predicting purchase intention when customers are under the different levels of elaboration: under the high elaboration, eye movement induced by negative framing had higher predictive power, while under the low elaboration, eye movement induced by positive framing showed higher predictive power.
The findings have important academic contributions to exploring the framing effect on behavior, and verifying and interpreting the ELM on basic assumptions. Besides, the findings have important practical implications for e-sellers to adopt negative framing for attracting consumers’ attention and for compelling them deliberation, to identify the characteristics of consumers’ elaboration using eye movements, and to deliver different framing messages and product information corresponding to different elaboration levels. These could be applied to the design of information presentation in e-commerce.