Virtual Bundling with Quantity Discounts: When Low Purchase Price Does Not Lead to Smart-Shopper Feelings


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Pauline de Pechpeyrou, Assistant Professor in Marketing, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, CEROS Research Centre – Team Management-Identity-Legitimacy (MIL), 200, avenue de la République 92001 Nanterre Cedex, France (


Previous research has shown that promotional techniques influence both the smart-shopper feeling and the consumption level at home through a direct mechanism (lower perceived cost) and an indirect consequence of promotions (larger supply). The development in France of virtual bundles with quantity discounts raises questions regarding a consumer's cognitive and affective appreciation of the deal, and therefore promotional efficiency. Four experiments on French consumers confirm the effect of price and supply on declared consumption, but only for “vice” products. In Experiment 2, virtual bundles with quantity discounts lead to the lowest perceived unit price and consequently to the highest level of consumption. Additionally, when compared with more traditional promotional techniques (e.g., physical bundles), virtual bundles with quantity discounts reduce the evaluation of a “good deal” and the smart-shopper feeling (Experiments 3 and 4). To summarize, such promotional techniques, which might have seemed appealing at first (“buy more to save more”), are preferred less by consumers than more traditional promotional techniques. These preliminary results could be enriched by field studies that go beyond declared consumption and observe consumers evolving in their natural environment across time.