Physical retailing vs. physical distancing–an empirical study of Swedish retail adaptations in the wake of Covid-19

Jens Hultman, Carys Egan-Wyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic represented a crisis that was handled in very different ways by different retailers. The purpose of this comprehensive empirical study is to explore how Swedish retailers adapted their retail formats, activities and governance over the course of the pandemic. Three types of adaptations were observed: adaptations in the physical store environment, new services connected to the physical store, and reduction of services connected to the physical store. We also found that the development of adaptations could be divided into three process steps: mobilization, operation (with adapted retail formats, activities and governance), and normalization. While literature tends to portray retail format development as proactive, carefully planned and top down, our findings suggest that the development undertaken in response to the pandemic was reactive and often bottom-up. Our findings also suggest that, in the wake of Covid-19, retailers can create value for customers by providing them with a novel kind of customer experience, a reassuring kind of customer experience in which safety and security are important elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-220
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • business model
  • Covid-19
  • customer experience
  • customer journey
  • format development

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