Human crowding and store messiness: Drivers of retail shopper confusion and behavioral intentions

Merve Coskun, Shipra Gupta*, Sebnem Burnaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


With today's cut-throat competition, brick and mortar retailers are engaging in various in-store elements like ambience, visual design, and social factors to entice consumers. However, these environmental stimuli if not used properly can lead to retail shopper confusion that can negatively influence shopper behavioral intentions. Drawing on the theoretical argument that information overload facilitates retail shopper confusion, two experimental studies are conducted. The findings of both studies suggest a main effect of human crowding and store messiness for each dimension of retail shopper confusion—irritation, inefficiency, and helplessness. Mediating role of retail shopper confusion between human crowding, store messiness, and shopping behavioral intentions is also examined. Interactive impact of human crowding and store messiness suggests store messiness to be more problematic. The moderating role of shopping motivations (task vs. recreational) is also examined that suggests the negative effect of retail shopper confusion for consumers pursuing recreational shopping motivations. These findings across the two studies offer a new perspective that recommend the importance of organized retail store environments. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-331
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


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