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Consumer Behavior in Hamilton and Chernev Articles

Description of the basic purpose/focus of the article and the research question addressed

The basic research question in the article by Hamilton and Chernev (2013) is exploring how price images are formed and how they influence consumer behavior. The focus of the article is on addressing the anomaly found in scholarly literature, where there are many studies on consumer behavior and price image, but few actual studies are specific about the formation of price images.

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The article seeks to dispel the popular myth about consumer buying behavior and low price provisions by retailers. It looks at the function of low prices in the overall context of marketing management. The article seeks to become part of common literature supporting the need to examine the formation of price images by customers as a way of determining the viability of marketing strategies that involve low pricing options.

Concisely describe the purpose or goal of the research

Hamilton and Chernev (2013) article’s goal is to be a reference source for information concerning the reasons why customers from price images. In line with this, the article wants to explain the ways that consumers alter their decisions because of price images.

It wants to show that the determination of price images is not a procedure that involves a conscious averaging of prices offered by a retailer only. Instead, it is aimed at bringing to light the non-price related factors that are at play, in addition to the actual price conditions, which together affect the price image held by consumers.

The authors believe their research is important because it provides centralized evidence of the way price image formation occurs. It also shows how price image influences buying behavior, which corrects the mistaken focus on consumer determination of price and the formation of price images based on single products.

Hamilton and Chernev (2013) rely on price-based drivers of price image, non-price drivers of price image, and consumer-based drivers of price image as independent variables that affect consumer behavior, which is the dependent variable. Within these variables, the authors look at a number of specifications.

For the non-price drivers of price image, issues of concern are physical attributes, assortment characteristic, service level, and non-price policies. The authors look at consumer characteristics and situational factors as part of the consumer-based drivers. In addition, price-based drivers of price image cover the average price level, dispersion of prices, price dynamics, price-related policies, and price-based communications.

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The researchers wanted to know the effects that primary variables cause on observable customer behavior attributes. They include price evaluations, price fairness perceptions, store choice, and choice deferral or purchase quantity.

Description of the procedure used

To arrive at the findings of their research, the authors came up with a set of assumptions and then developed a conceptual framework based on available literature about price image and consumer behavior.

The framework provided a basis for the research analysis. It outlined three levels of information gathering about different macro social influences on consumer behaviors already known. They looked at generic situations of consumer research, including information acquisition, shopping, purchasing, consumption, and disposition. Finally, they sought to link each feature with an associated reaction (Peter & Olson, 2010).

The researchers relied on secondary data to inform their analysis. The authors formed opinions, judgments, and presented facts provided by previously published research for each segment of their conceptual framework and as part of their review of the relationship between variables.

In picking prior research reports, the authors confined themselves to scholarly, peer-reviewed topics on antecedents and the consequences of price image. The research did not rely on data from primary sources. It did not use any form of primary data collection methodologies, such as surveys. It also lacked participants and statistical analysis. Instead, it qualitatively summarized important literary contributions to its independent and dependent variable relations (Cargan, 2007).


The research concluded that price image is a function of all marketing-mix variables. It is not only a product of price. In addition, price image plays a crucial role in a strategic position for retail businesses. The authors also explained that price image is a company-level strategic concern.

Therefore, managers should stop treating it like a tactical problem similar to what they do with ordinary pricing decisions in their retail outlets. As part of the conclusion, the research confirmed that non-price cues play a big role in informing price images.

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Analysis of the findings

The research findings are consistent not only with suggestions from previous research consulted as part of the research process but also with the general theory of consumer behavior. It shows that social, physical, and marketing environments affect consumer perceptions. In reviewing previous literature, the authors first identified the methodology used to arrive at various conclusions. A majority of the consulted literature used experiment or survey methods to come up with key findings.

It was from the key findings that authors categorized each research according to the variable being studied and made their conclusions based on the consistency of research findings by numerous researchers. The consultation of a substantial number of peer-reviewed papers lends credibility to the overall findings of Hamilton and Chernev (2013).

Nevertheless, the omission of a primary data collection procedure in the research acts as a limitation to its practicability. The findings will remain theoretical and subject to scrutiny, until the time when the claims and conclusions come from actual field reports and data analysis.

Analysis of the value of the research

The research is valuable because it summarizes findings from a wide range of research. This makes it a critical base for future researchers to use when expanding various scopes of consumers’ affective responses and cognition. It explains important values and lifestyle trends in American culture. It also provides actual examples of why some retailers are losing the strategy of using prices to influence consumer beliefs and buying patterns.

The arguments presented by the authors as part of their discussion on the results of the research provide a formidable basis for coming up with objectives for future research. The authors acknowledge that some relationships between macro social influences on consumer behavior and price image may need the use of actual research participants and primary data to confirm (Dawson, 2003).

The summary of unexplored questions needing further exploration acts as a reference point for practitioners and other researchers when they are developing or analyzing marketing strategies respectively.

In the end, the research adds the options that marketing strategists would consider exploring in their retail businesses to influence price image for their businesses. Therefore, the research is crucial for anyone seeking to adopt marketing strategies to environmental conditions and similarly use the strategies to create the environment.


Cargan, L. (2007). Doing social research. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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Dawson, M. (2003). The consumer trap: Big business marketing in American life. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Hamilton, R., & Chernev, A. (2013). Low prices are just the beginnning: Price image in retail management. Journal of Marketing, 77(6), 1-20.

Peter, J. P., & Olson, ‎. C. (2010). Consumer behavior and marketing strategy (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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