Online product experiences : the effect of simulating stroking gestures on product understanding and the critical role of user control
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Computers in human behavior. - Elmsford, N.Y.
, p. 272-284
University of Antwerp
This article builds upon the persuasiveness of touch in consumer settings, extending it to an online store environment. Recognizing that actual touch is not always feasible, the aim is to investigate whether interactive visual stimuli can tap into tactile perceptual information, thus improving understanding (i.e., perceived diagnosticity) regarding product attributes in an online store. In Study 1, an interface with image interactivity to simulate stroking gestures increased perceived diagnosticity of the experience attributes of a product (i.e., a scarf), as compared to a static interface using only pictures. Mediation analysis indicates that this effect is due to visually induced tactile sensations. As expected, no effects were found for search attributes, for which touch is considered less diagnostic. Study 2 reaffirms the importance of tactile sensations in perceived diagnosticity regarding experience attributes using a different product (i.e., a throw blanket), in addition to indicating the crucial importance of user control in invoking tactile sensations. In other words, Study 2 demonstrates that the ability to control the online product (instead of merely watching the product being moved around) is important to induce tactile sensations. Results from both studies indicate that, in the context of online stores, simulated tactile sensations is an important factor in online product understanding.