How Uncertain Promotions Affect Inaction Inertia in an Online Retail Context

Shiu-Li Huang and Yu-Min Zhao
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 27, Number 3, 2023, pp. 385-405.


E-tailers often use different types of promotions to increase consumers’ willingness to buy. However, little research has been done to explore how to reduce inaction inertia caused by online promotions. Inaction inertia refers to the condition in which people who have missed a previously attractive opportunity are less likely to accept the current less attractive opportunity. This study explores how uncertainty, in combination with monetary and nonmonetary promotion types, impacts inaction inertia. The effect of the best possible outcome in an uncertain promotion is also examined. Two experiments are conducted in the context of online shopping to test the effects. The research findings can help e-tailers devise effective promotion strategies.