Purpose – People have long thought that disorderly space would influence their lives negatively. However, disorderly space may have positive impact such as increasing sales for new products for store managers. Borrowing the prior findings that disorderly space enhances creativity, we developed two hypotheses regarding space order, product newness, and new product adoption. We hypothesize that space order negatively influences new product adoption and that the proposed negative effect of space order on new product adoption is moderated by product newness.
Research design, data, and methodology – We conducted a pre-test in China using 70 undergraduate students to test whether two newly developed cosmetic products were appropriate for the experimental stimuli. We confirmed that a fragrance patch concept, which is unavailable in the market, is a RNP (Really New Product), and an edible fragrance, which is available in the market, is an INP (Incrementally New Product). Next, we conducted a main experiment with a 2 (Space order: orderly vs. disorderly) x 2 (Product newness: RNP vs. INP) between-subjects design in China using 100 undergraduate students. Half of the participants answered questions on the disorderly desk and the other half answered questions on the orderly desk.
Results – We obtained evidence from the main experiment that consumers’ new product adoption is the function of space order and product newness. First, participants were more likely to adopt the RNP when they were in the disorderly space than in the orderly space. However, the effect of space order on new product adoption disappeared when the product was INP; the adoption rates for the INP did not differ between the participants who answered questions on the disorderly desk and the participants who did so on the orderly desk.
Conclusions – Our findings are counter intuitive. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that neat and tidy space benefits store managers, the research demonstrated that disorderly space increases sales, providing fresh insights into store managers to manage their stores and shops to sell new products. In order to help store visitors understand the value of really new products, store managers will have to sacrifice space order to some extent.
Keywords: New Product Adoption, Offline Store, Sales, Space Order, Store Manager