Dr. Rai’s research is driven by a desire to deepen insights on consumer behavior. He conducts behavioral research to understand consumer decision-making and its psychological underpinnings, generating insights that address substantive problems in the domains of marketing management and consumer well-being. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws from psychology, sociology, and behavioral economics, his research focuses on understanding the impact of marketing strategies on consumer decisions.
His published research provides insights into consumer decisions by showing how consumers' beliefs and attitudes influence their decisions. His research on mindsets shows that people’s beliefs about the malleability of their abilities influence a variety of consumption decisions such as financial decision-making (Rai and Lin, Journal of Business Research 2019); new product adoption tendencies (Lin, Rai, and Tran, Journal of Consumer Marketing 2019); and gift-giving behavior (Rai, Lin, Hong, and Kulick, Marketing and Management 2017).
When understanding how people’s beliefs impact their decisions, he also examines this phenomenon from a cross-cultural perspective to provide a clearer understanding of consumer behavior. Although the majority of cross-cultural research in marketing has highlighted differences in the behaviors of consumers from different parts of the world, he is more interested in identifying ways in which consumers are similar despite cultural and environmental differences. His research on people’s belief in karmic principles (Chatterjee, Rai, and Chaudhuri, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad conference proceedings 2015) finds that the belief
in karmic principles transcends cultures and affects decisions among consumers in emerging economies such as India as well as in developed economies like the United States.
Since consumers don't make decisions in a vacuum, understanding how different environmental factors nudge their choices is equally crucial for marketers. His work on opportunity cost (Chatterjee, Rai, and Heath, Journal of Business Research 2016) shows that the type of consumption (experiential vs. materialistic) influences consumers’ perceived value of their resources (time vs. money). His work on temperature cues shows that people’s donation behavior can be affected by ambient temperatures. Furthermore, this behavior is consistent across different cultural contexts such as Taiwan and the United States (Rai, Lin, and Yang, Journal of Consumer Marketing 2017).
Building on his research in consumer behavior, his current work has implications for marketing strategies in the digital realm. With the increased availability of coupons through digital mediums such as Groupon and Coupons.com, time-limited promotions—coupons with time restrictions—have become exceedingly common, making it crucial for digital marketers to understand the effectiveness of such promotions. Existing research on time-limited promotions suggests that time restrictions on coupons act as effective purchase triggers by making consumers feel that they may miss out on the deal. However, his article, currently published in the Journal of Business Research(Rai, Lin, and Jiraporn 2021), shows that the effect of time-limited promotions on consumer motivation may not be so straightforward. Specifically, he finds that people who rely extensively on an external clock to schedule their daily lives evaluate time-limited promotions negatively because they feel that they lack sufficient time to take advantage of the promotion. His work provides marketers with a solution to this problem by showing that they can optimize the appeal of time-limited promotions to people who consider themselves time-poor by framing such promotions with an expansive timeframe.
Overall, his research provides substantive insights on consumer decision-making with actionable insights that help marketers and consumers make effective decisions.
Contact Dr. Rai
Marketing at Le Moyne College
Madden School of Business