Overcoming Information Overload in Retail Environments: Imagination and Sales Promotion in a Wine Context

Seth Ketron, University of North Texas
Nancy Spears, University of North Texas
Bo Dai, Georgia Southern University


Information overload is a common problem in retail environments. Reducing information in a retail environment is not always feasible or desirable given the plethora of products and extent of limitations on retailers in terms of merchandising and display decisions. Therefore, retailers need other ways of overcoming information overload than simply reducing the amount of information. However, extant research is unsettled with respect to arguments in favor of and against adverse effects of information overload. To enhance our understanding of these issues, the present research presents two studies that investigate the moderating role of consumer decision processing approaches in an information overload retail space. The findings reveal that the consumer imagination offers a more efficient processing route, circumventing the frustration associated with information overload and leading to enhanced consumer outcomes compared to the less efficient consideration route. Further, heuristic processing triggered by sales promotions in high information retail environments lead to piqued arousal and enhanced consumer imagination, ultimately bolstering consumer responses to the product. Implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.