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Getting a no-reply is also a reply: An investigation of unreplied consumer attributions

George Alba and Luiz Antonio Slongo

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2020, vol. 54, issue C

Abstract: No-replies are common in everyday life, especially when individuals interact in online platforms. When consumers participate in the marketplace and interact with sellers or other consumers, they may encounter various kinds of outcomes. Sometimes offerings may succeed, while other times they are explicitly declined. But it is also possible that offerings and requests are unreplied where no explicit acceptance or rejection response is given. This paper examines the hypothesis that no-replies lead consumers to stronger behavioral intentions than negative replies, through different casual attributions. Consumers make attributions to infer causal explanations, based on the type of reply they get from others consumers. Across our studies, we evidence the effect of no-reply on several contexts and reveal the mediating role of attributions on the influence of no-replies on behavioral intentions. The results also suggest that no-replies lead people to higher attribution of self-responsibility to the outcome than negative reply, however, company’s apologies for consumer’s no-reply overturn the effect. Finally, considering that individuals do not require much effort for a no-reply and effort is a proxy for interest, it generates worse attributions.

Keywords: No-reply; No-action; Attribution theory; Effort; Locus of responsibility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102054

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