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EMAC 2022 Annual

“Will High Expectations Backfire?”—The Role of Overoptimism, Disconfirmation, and Affective Reactions When Resolving a Mystery Deal

Published: May 24, 2022


Florian Brodschelm, University of Passau; Sebastian Schubach, University of Passau; Jan Schumann, University of Passau; Verena Hüttl-Maack, University of Hohenheim


Many retailers use mystery deals (i.e., offers whose identity is unknown until after purchase) to stimulate consumers’ purchases. Prior research has predominantly focused on consumers’ positive pre-purchase reactions to mystery deals. This research evaluates the overall success of such campaigns by investigating how it affects consumers’ loyalty after the purchase, especially if the outcome disconfirms consumers’ overoptimistic expectations which mystery deals create before the purchase. The authors find that loyalty intentions increase, if the outcome of the mystery deal meets these high expectations. Yet, even if consumers do not obtain the desired product, loyalty intentions do not fall below the level of consumers receiving a conventional promotion. Survey and facial expression data explain this effect by an emotional spillover of positive pre-purchase affect on post-purchase affect and loyalty intentions which (compensates) complements potential (dis)confirmation effects.