Thinking fast and slow: a revised SOR model for an empirical examination of impulse buying at a luxury fashion outlet

Dongmei Cao, Maureen Meadows, Xiao Ma

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Purpose - Despite the extensive stimulus-organism-response (SOR) literature, little attention has been paid to the role of marketing activity as a key environmental stimulus, and there is a dearth of research examining the interplay between emotions and cognition on consumer behaviour, as well as the sequential effects of emotions on cognition. To address these gaps, this study aims to develop a revised SOR model by incorporating Kahneman’s fast and slow thinking theory to investigate the impulse buying of Affordable Luxury Fashion (ALF).
Design/Methodology/Approach - We use outlet stores at Bicester Village (BV) in England as the research context for ALF shopping. Partial least square structural
equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was employed to analyse a survey sample of 633 consumers with a BV shopping experience.
Findings - We find that impulse buying of ALF arises from the interplay of emotional and cognitive factors, as well as a sequential and dual process involving in-store stimuli affecting on-site emotion and in-store browsing.
Research implications - This study reveals that brand connection significantly and negatively moderates the relationship between on-site emotion and in-store browsing, advancing the SOR paradigm and reflecting the interactive effect of human emotion and reasoning on the impulse buying of ALF items.
Practical implications - Insights into consumers’ impulse buying offer practical implications for luxury brand management, specifically for ALF outlet retailers and store managers.
Originality/Value - Our results suggest a robust sequential effect of on-site emotion towards in-store browsing on impulse buying, providing updated empirical support for Kahneman’s theory of System 1 and System 2 thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-368
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number1
Early online date26 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact


  • Affordable luxury fashion (ALF)
  • Impulse buying
  • Stimulus-organism-response (SOR)
  • In-store browsing
  • Brand connection
  • On-site emotion
  • Retail outlet


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