cancellation; commitment; goal; promotion
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
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The authors recognize that an uncertain environment associated with prolonged pandemic conditions have made consumers reluctant to make long-term contractual commitments in various retail contexts. Hypothesizing that retailers might offer cancellation options to motivate consumers to undertake long-term commitments, the authors conduct two studies in which cancellation messages accompany ads for an online language course and a gym membership. Findings indicate that retailers can alleviate the pressures associated with long-term commitment decisions and can heighten purchase intentions by providing cancel options for consumers who register for services requiring long-term but not short-term commitments. Perceived goal achievability is identified as an underlying mechanism that mediates the effects.