Visual appeal is a critical determinant in eliciting positive consumer responses. In an online shopping environment, in which consumers’ interaction with products is limited to the visual, the pictorial representation of products becomes of paramount importance. While product visual appeal is a widely applied concept, relatively little is known about the underlying mechanisms of how consumers process the visual appearance of a product in an online setting and form attitudes toward a newly encountered brand. The purpose of this study is to examine both how varying levels of product visuals online affect aesthetic appreciation and brand attitudes as well as to what extent arousal and processing fluency can link appreciation and attitudes. The levels of online product visual appeals were manipulated in a 2 (good vs. plain package design) × 2 (high vs. low image quality) factorial design (N = 407). The contrast analysis revealed that better product visuals increased the arousal and fluency that consumers experienced. The structural equation modeling showed that consumers’ arousal and fluency mediated the relationship between product visuals and consumers’ aesthetic and attitudinal responses. The regression analysis also indicated that arousal and processing fluency independently affected visual aesthetic appreciation.
- Product visual appeals
- brand attitudes
- processing fluency
- visual aesthetic appreciation