Online grocery retailing lags behind other product categories in e-commerce. This article focuses on consumers’ need for touch (NFT) as a psychological explanation for this issue. In two studies, consumers rate their perception of produce offered in an online shop. Specifically, consumers assess quality concerns, affective response, and willingness to pay (WTP) in offline versus online retail contexts. Results demonstrate that high-NFT consumers express higher quality concerns and lower affective response to online offered produce. This negative influence of NFT is stronger if consumers use indirect compared to direct touch interfaces. Further, NFT influences WTP difference between offline and online offered produce. Online retailers therefore need to carefully manage quality concerns and negative perceptions that high-NFT consumers express during online produce shopping. A third study proposes a solution through online videos as visual design features. Displaying haptic evaluations of high-touch diagnostic produce by other consumers successfully negates NFT's adverse influences.
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