Don’t Surprise Me: How Social Relationships Shape Consumers’ Attitudes toward Probabilistic Selling

Yuwei Jiang, Linying Fan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Although probabilistic selling has been widely used as a tool for retailing and sales promotion, when and how it should be used has seldom been investigated. Contributing to our knowledge on this important topic, the current research examines how and why consumers’ social relationships influence their attitudes toward probabilistic selling. Four experiments reveal that socially excluded consumers exhibit less favorable attitudes toward probabilistic selling than do their peers who do not feel excluded. This effect is mediated by a thwarted sense of personal control following social exclusion, and the effect diminishes when vivid information about the probabilistic offer is provided. This research offers rich practical implications for retailers in terms of how to strengthen experiential shopping and improve results in consumption activities through probabilistic selling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440
Number of pages450
Journal Journal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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