Consumer decision-making in a retail store: the role of mental imagery and gender difference

Jung Hwan Kim, Minjeong Kim, Jungmin Yoo, Minjung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to investigate how mental imagery evoked from sensory in-store experience influences consumer anticipatory emotion, perceived ownership and decision satisfaction which eventually impact positive consumer responses such as behavioural intent. In this study, gender difference is proposed as a moderator to completely understand the role of mental imagery in the in-store decision-making process. Design/methodology/approach: Using a market research agency in South Korea, an online survey was employed to collect data. A total of 455 useable respondents (men = 224 and women = 231) largely living in the two most populous provinces in South Korea (i.e. Seoul and Gyeonggi provinces) completed the survey. A number of path analyses were conducted to test hypotheses. Findings: The results of the study showed that mental imagery evoked from sensory product experience played a critical part in facilitating the consumer decision-making process by influencing anticipatory emotion and perceived ownership. The relationship among anticipatory emotion, perceived ownership, decision satisfaction and behavioural intent was significant except for the relationship between perceived ownership and behavioural intent. This study further indicated that the way mental imagery influences the in-store decision-making process differs between men and women. Originality/value: The effect of mental imagery in a physical retail context is largely ignored. This study addressed the crucial role of mental imagery in a physical apparel retail setting and examined its impact on consumer decision-making processes. By exploring how to enhance consumers' in-store sensory shopping experiences through mental imagery to influence their positive shopping outcomes, this study offers vital insights into how retailers operating physical stores can successfully utilize their stores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-445
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5A2A03927809).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Decision-making
  • Emotion
  • Gender difference
  • Mental imagery
  • Sensory experience


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