The perceptual fluency effect on pleasurable online shopping experience

Hyunjoo Im, Sharron J. Lennon, Leslie Stoel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose – Visual information quality is one of the most important elements that determines online shoppers' experience on a web site. Yet, currently many e/tailers use poor quality visual information such as small and blurry images. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of visual information quality on online shoppers' affective responses and behavioral intent toward the web site. The theoretical framework of perceptual fluency, the ease with which perceptual forms (i.e. objects) are processed, guided the research. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical model was developed based on the literature and tested using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and structural equation modeling (SEM). The model proposed a mediating effect of pleasure in creating positive aesthetic evaluations and behavioral outcomes of the perceptual fluency effect. An online experiment (n=1,999) was employed with two levels of perceptual fluency. Findings – MANOVA results confirmed the perceptual fluency effect on aesthetic evaluation and pleasure. SEM analysis supported the proposed model. Pleasure had a stronger impact on behavioral intent than aesthetic evaluation. Theoretical and managerial implications of the perceptual fluency effect on online consumer behavior are discussed. Originality/value – Previous research has not addressed perceptual fluency from a strong theoretical framework. The paper empirically tested and extended the perceptual fluency hypothesis. Although previous researchers observed the fluency effect on preference choices without testing the mediating effect of affect, this paper examined the mediating role of affect and confirmed the importance of pleasure in aesthetic evaluation. Also, this paper extends the scope of the perceptual fluency effect beyond aesthetic preference/evaluations to behavioral intent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-295
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in Interactive Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 28 2010


  • Affective psychology
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Electronic commerce
  • Visual perception


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