How Does Omnichannel Marketing Enable Businesses to Cope with COVID-19? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

55 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020 Last revised: 13 May 2021

See all articles by Mengzhou Zhuang

Mengzhou Zhuang

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics

Eric Fang

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fengyan Cai

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management

Date Written: July 1, 2020

Abstract

In light of the global Covid-19 pandemic and its profoundly negative impact on offline businesses, this study aims to understand how firms can leverage online-to-offline (O2O) coupons to maintain and even grow their offline businesses despite constraints imposed by the pandemic. We use unique data from a large-scale field experiment with 850,000 distributed coupons across about 280 cities, as well as two online follow-up studies. We evaluate how the local severity of the pandemic impacts the effectiveness of O2O coupons and explore the underlying mechanisms of the pandemic's effects on consumer coupon usage decisions. The results show that the coupon claim rate is positively influenced by pandemic severity, and this effect is driven by consumers' perceived deprivation. Conversely, pandemic severity has a negative impact on the coupon redemption rate, and this effect is mediated by consumers' perceived risk. More importantly, for areas in which the pandemic is more severe, both the coupon claim and redemption rates are significantly higher when the coupon is distributed through social sharing (vs. directly from the business), and the coupon claim rate is higher when the claiming procedure involves gamification than when it does not. The paper concludes with theoretical and managerial implications.

Keywords: COVID-19, omnichannel strategy, online-to-offline coupon, gamification, consumer decision process, coupon claim, coupon redemption

Suggested Citation

Zhuang, Mengzhou and Fang, Eric and Cai, Fengyan, How Does Omnichannel Marketing Enable Businesses to Cope with COVID-19? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment (July 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3640730 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3640730

Mengzhou Zhuang (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
China

Eric Fang

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Fengyan Cai

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management ( email )

1954 Huashan Road
Shanghai, Shanghai 200030
China

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