Understanding the role of incidental touch in consumer behavior

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When thinking about how the five senses in general and touch in particular relate to marketing, one immediately thinks about how consumers use their senses to acquire information about products and services in a retail environment. Consumers actively engage different senses or combinations of senses to help inform their purchase decisions. For instance, consumers clearly rely on their sense of smell when choosing which perfume to buy, but sight could also play a key role by influencing perceptions and preferences for one bottle shape over another (Folkes &Matta, 2004; Raghubir &Greenleaf, 2006; Raghubir &Krishna, 1999). Likewise, the way a bottle feels when touched might also impact product choice. Indeed, researchers have shown that information gathered through touch can have a significant influence on product evaluations (Mooy &Robben, 2002; Peck &Childers, 2003) and even hinder online shopping precisely because it does not provide consumers with tactile information (Alba et al., 1997; Citrin, Stem, Spangenberg, &Clark, 2003; McCabe &Nowlis, 2003). But what about cases where touch is not used for information seeking about products? Will it still have an impact on consumer behavior? This is the focus of the current chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensory Marketing
Subtitle of host publicationResearch on the Sensuality of Products
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135429966
ISBN (Print)9781841697536
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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