Abstract The frequent occurrence of social emergencies in recent years has brought great challenges for retailers' operation. Despite the proliferation of crisis management in academic marketing literature and companies' practices, there is currently little published research that focuses on the different effects of social emergencies on customer behavior. Most of prior researches are general discussions from the macro level, providing little implication for retailers' operation. To investigate different social emergencies' specific impact on consumer behavior, this paper used a panel data of a shopping center in Beijing and focused on four social emergencies in 2008. The panel data includes purchase data from 287 membership of the shopping center during the period from January of 2005 to December of 2008. This data records the detailed purchases information of each product category (for example, the brand name, the purchase volume, the purchase price and the purchase time). Firstly, we use the 36 months data from January of 2005 to December of 2007 to predict the normal customer behavior of 2008. Then these estimated values are compared to those observed values of 2008. This enables us to detect the deviations due to the social emergencies happened in 2008. Finally, a framework of social emergency study was developed, and the analysis results can be concluded as follow: (1) Different social emergencies' impact on consumer purchasing behavior are different and mainly reflected the changes in the amount of money spent and the adjustment of purchasing time; (2) Different social emergencies' impact on consumer purchasing behavior are different from the time effect view, while single social emergency's impacts on consumer purchasing behavior are also different for different stages; and (3) The most-influenced population of consumers are different between social emergencies. In a word, the effects of emergencies on consumer purchasing behavior in retail stores are different between emergencies in several dimensions, including timing, target and content. In the end, the management implications for retailing are discussed.
Keywords Social emergency, Retailer, Purchase behavior
(Source: LI Fei, MA Baolong, LIN Jian, Nankai Business Review, 2010, issue 3)