The market for secondhand items – goods previously owned by others- is rapidly growing. Disordered environments, characterized by disorganized or messy product displays, are frequently found in secondhand stores. How does disorder affect consumer perceptions of secondhand retailers as well as the merchandise for sale? A set of four studies finds disorder (vs. order) in the secondhand retail environment has opposing effects – enhancing consumers’ perceptions of finding hidden treasure but also heightening risk perceptions. However, the positive effects of disorder from increased hidden treasure perceptions do not overcome the negative effects from risk. For secondhand retailers who may face barriers to tidying up, what can be done to alter these inferences? We test and show that secondhand retailers can reduce risk and/or boost hidden treasure perceptions by a) offering a return policy or b) by signaling seller inventory knowledge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes