POTENTIAL IMPACT OF VIRTUAL TOUCHING ON ENDOWMENT AND FEELINGS OF OWNERSHIP. A LITERATURE REVIEW OF CONCEPTS AND SCALES

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By: Adriana ZAIŢ, MIHAELA ŞTIR
JEL: L81, L11, M31, M37
Keywords: sensory marketing, touch marketing, e-commerce, haptic marketing, sense of ownership, endowment effect

Online sales increase at incredible paces, all over the world, and so are corresponding marketing efforts. One of the main deterrents of online selling is related to the impossibility of trying or touching products before taking the decision to buy. Previous studies on offline environments have proved that touching products makes people develop a feeling of ownership, a psychological sense of property that has positive consequences on their intention and decision to buy those products. Similar effects, adapted for the online environments, were less investigated, but the very few existent studies suggest that virtually touching a product through tactile interfaces (smartphone, iPad, tablet etc.) could be as important for consumer decisions as the content of the site and product information. Virtual touching could serve as emotional triggers, leading to feelings of ownership and endowment effects in online marketing. However, defining the concept of “virtual touching” is difficult – even the simple association of “touch” and “virtual” seems oximoronic.

The purpose of the present study – a literature review type – is to investigate the tactile based creative online marketing, in order to conceptualize and operationalize the variable „virtual touching”, thus being able to further suggest a research design which would enable us to measure the impact of online „touching” on consumer behaviour. The main analysed constructs related to virtual touching are: endowment effect, psychological ownership, haptic advertising, sensory online marketing, haptic imagery, haptic technology, reverse electrovibration.