Advertised versus unexpected next purchase couponsConsumer satisfaction, perceptions of value, and fairness
Purpose - This research aims to investigate how consumers differ in their interpretation of advertised and "surprise" (or unexpected) next-purchase coupons as delayed rewards or immediate losses based on promotion context and coupon start date restrictions. Design/methodology/approach - Two laboratory experiments examine how consumers respond to next-purchase coupons. In Study 1, nextpurchase coupon types (advertised; unexpected) vs competing brand promotions (yes; no) vs coupon start date restriction (unrestricted; restricted to future start date) between-subjects experimental design was used to examine the impact on purchase satisfaction, perceived promotion value, and perceived retailer fairness. In Study 2, four between-subjects factors were used to examine the impact on purchase satisfaction, perceived value, and retailer fairness: next-purchase coupon type vs coupon start date restriction vs coupon target restriction (brand-specific; non brand-specific) and the measured need-for-cognition variable (high; low). Findings - Study 1 indicates that unexpected next-purchase coupons lead to higher purchase satisfaction but lower perceptions of retailer fairness compared to advertised coupons. Study 2 indicates that consumer predisposition toward effortful thought (NFC) amplifies the impact of unrestricted start date on perceptions of retailer unfairness. Furthermore, this effect is stronger on purchase satisfaction and perceived value for unrestricted unexpected next-purchase coupons. Research limitations/implications - Results imply that advertised and unexpected next-purchase coupons differ in their impact on post-purchase outcomes of consumers. Differences in competing brand promotions and coupon start date restrictions lead to interpretations of next-purchase coupons as immediate loss vs delayed gains. Practical implications - Managerial implications for the design and use of next-purchase promotions are discussed. Originality/value - This research paper is the first to study how consumers respond to checkout or next-purchase coupons.