COMMUNICATE ONLINE, PURCHASE OFFLINE (COPO): HOW CAN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INSTANT MESSAGING STRENGTHEN CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS WITH RETAIL STORES?
Brick-and-mortar retailers face increasing competition from online retailers, who can collect online customer data and leverage it to increase customer loyalty. This opportunity is not available for brickand-mortar stores as their major advantage – the direct personal contact with the customer during a store visit – typically ends when customers leave the store. This research-in-progress investigates how digital information and communication technology, specifically instant messaging, can be leveraged by brick-and-mortar retailers to continue fostering their relationships with customers. We integrate theories and empirical findings from the information systems, marketing, and communication disciplines and apply them to a real-world setting by conducting an initial field experiment. Specifically, we send customers of a retail store instant messages containing relational benefits and observe the effects on customers’ repurchase behavior. Our preliminary findings indicate that instant messaging indeed strengthens customer-retailer relationships by providing customers with relational benefits, and rewarding retailers with return purchases. This implies that if brick-and-mortar stores communicate online with their customers, they might induce offline purchases and thereby reinforce their competitive advantage over online retailers. In a larger-scale field experiment, we want to test all hypotheses of our research model to derive reliable findings for researchers and retailers.
Schulze, Laura and Trenz, Manuel, "COMMUNICATE ONLINE, PURCHASE OFFLINE (COPO): HOW CAN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INSTANT MESSAGING STRENGTHEN CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS WITH RETAIL STORES?" (2020). ECIS 2020 Research-in-Progress Papers. 75.
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