THE PANDEMIC TRANSFORMED ECONOMY (JACR - CFP)

Call for Papers | Journal of the Association for Consumer Research | Volume 8, Issue 2
Issue Editors: Xiaoyan Deng, Xiaojing Yang, Barbara E. Kahn, Selin Malkoc, and Yuwei Jiang

 

The pandemic has thrust upon us unprecedented challenges and uncertainties. Crises like this take a heavy economic toll, while the disruption they bring about often heralds new business models. For example, the need to generate income during the 2009 financial crisis led to the creation of marketplaces for underutilized assets, giving rise to the sharing economy; the shutdown following the 2003 SARS epidemic stimulated the widespread adoption of e-commerce in major economies in Asia, making China the center of innovation around social commerce. 

 

The goal of this special issue is to document and analyze the rapid changes in consumer behavior caused or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related safety measures it requires (e.g., social distancing, stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing, etc.). This issue will feature research that examines how changes in marketplace and consumption behaviors during the pandemic may evolve to create new consumption patterns and innovative business models that may prevail in the next ‘normal.’ 

 

While the JACR Flash COVID-19 Research Issue has documented the immediate reactions of different constituents to the novel coronavirus threat, the current issue focuses on the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on consumption behaviors, with the goal of aiding companies to develop strategies to survive and emerge from the crisis stronger. To this end, we encourage papers that will shed light on changes in consumer behavior: some may spark “work-arounds” to the crisis, while others may inspire changes that will be for the long haul. We are open to papers documenting interesting and novel phenomena as well as papers aiming to advance theories. We welcome interdisciplinary and multi-method research and research that relies on field data. Relevant topics on marketplace and consumption behavior changes brought on by the pandemic include but are not limited to: 

 

CHANGES IN HOW CONSUMERS SHOP AND INTERACT WITH BRANDS

How have physical distancing and stay-at-home orders changed the way consumers shop online, offline, and via mobile and social media platforms? How might companies develop a customer-focused omnichannel strategy to ensure a seamless and frictionless integrated shopping experience? As the consumer journey has been altered, how might companies redesign the customer experience to create delight?

  • How might brands better utilize mobile apps and social media as important sales channels in their omnichannel strategy to customize and personalize offerings for consumers at various touchpoints in their journey in a 24/7 timeframe? How might brands adapt to new online shopping models such as social commerce and livestream shopping (e.g., Amazon Live)?
  • As the economy reopens, what adjustments will be necessary in the brick-and-mortar stores? How might stores transition from a high-touch to low-touch environment to meet customers’ need for hygiene? What creative designs might retailers use to convey care and trust in a low-touch store environment?
  • What digital equivalents for a myriad of activities (e.g., online workshops) might companies offer to keep customers engaged and informed, thereby fostering a sense of connection? Are there creative ways to engage customers outside the store to make up for the lack of interaction with customers in-store? What’s the role of social media in helping brands engage with customers? How might brands leverage new technologies such as digital showroom, virtual try-on, and AI chatbots to better serve and interact with their customers?
  • Many companies are rising to the occasion and pivoting their existing manufacturing to deliver scarce products (ventilators, face masks, hand sanitizer). How do consumers perceive these products?  How do consumers react to brands’ “We’re here for you” messages and corporate social responsibility efforts?

 

CHANGES IN HOW CONSUMERS LIVE, WORK, PLAY, AND SOCIALIZE
How should companies adapt to the flourishing “homebody economy” in which consumers shop, study, work, and play at home? For example, how should they adjust their advertising mix to better target consumers who now spend more of their time at home? Should new products and services be developed to cater to consumers’ new needs and priorities?

  • How do consumers allocate their time when facing a surplus of “at-home time” due to the lockdown and stay-at-home orders? Are there changes in their perception of time? What are the effects of the work-from-home trend on consumers’ productivity and time management? Are retailers’ new services such as curbside pick-up and free delivery making consumers more or less impatient? Are these changes making consumers more or less willing to trade speed for convenience?
  • The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technologies addressing consumers’ new needs (e.g., Zoom). What are the long-term impacts of using these technologies and the resultant digital experiences? Can consumers’ digital experiences be augmented using technologies such as AR and VR? Can live entertainment and sports events be compellingly converted into virtual ones?
  • The health crisis has spurred consumers to become more health oriented. How might companies react to this trend via new products and services? What innovative designs might be unveiled to help consumers form and sustain health habits?
  • How have social distancing measures influenced consumer-to-consumer relationships and consumers’ joint consumption experiences? How do consumers adapt to the shift to interacting and socializing online? How might products and services (e.g., Peloton) facilitate social interactions in the new normal? How might companies utilize these changes to maximize customer relations?
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to new social groups and new social activities, but may have also brought on new forms of social media anxiety, social exclusion or stigmatization. How might these changes affect consumption behaviors? 

 

DETAILS
We strongly encourage the submission of shorter manuscripts (up to 5,000 words, including the abstract and references). However, we will also consider full manuscripts (not to exceed 8,000 words, including the abstract and references). Submissions will receive double-blind peer review consistent with all top journals in the field of consumer research. Author guidelines may be found online at the JACR website. If you have specific questions or would like the editors’ reaction to a proposed submission, please contact one of the editors at deng.84@osu.eduxiaojing.yang@moore.sc.edukahn@wharton.upenn.edumalkoc@fisher.osu.edu, or yuwei.jiang@polyu.edu.hk

EDITORIAL TIMELINE
Initial Manuscript Submission: November 1, 2021 – January 1, 2022
Deadline for Submission of Final Manuscript: December 15, 2022
Publication Date: April 1, 2023

Editor bios and submission instructions can be found here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/journals/jacr/forthcoming-8.2

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