Intermediate Choice Lists: How Product Attributes Influence Purchase Likelihood in a Self-Imposed Delay

Deidre Popovich, Ryan Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Many online retailers enable consumers to postpone a purchase decision by placing a desired item onto an intermediate choice list, such as a wish list or saved-for-later list. This research demonstrates that using a list in this way decreases purchase intent for the wait-listed products, relative to the same choice made without the option to delay the decision. The findings of five experiments show that purchase likelihood is affected by a shift in the importance, or weight, of product attributes. Specifically, the attributes that are weighted more heavily in the decision to place an item on an intermediate choice list are then weighted less heavily in the decision to purchase an item from that list. This shift in attribute weighting suggests that consumers may switch from more noncompensatory to more compensatory decision-making between the initial decision to use an intermediate choice list, and the later decision of whether to purchase the item from the list. This process tends to diminish the importance of the attractive attributes that encouraged consumers to put these items on lists in the first place. These findings have implications for retailers who wish to understand the risks and benefits of wish lists and related tools, and for consumers who desire to reduce impulsive purchases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Online retailing
  • Purchase delay
  • Two-stage decision making
  • Wish list


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