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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Making Retailing Future Proof

Published: May 28, 2019


Jonne Guyt, University of Amsterdam Business School; Kristopher Keller, UNC at Chapel Hill


The papers in the “Making Retailing Future Proof” session jointly address a variety of current issues in the retailing landscape that not only affect their bottom line, but have larger implications for society as well. Driven by an increase in consumer knowledge and desire for convenience, there is pressure to both cater to these wishes, as well as to increase efficiency in its existing business practices, and create positive externalities. This session deals with emergent approaches in (i) the war on sugar, where the retailing industry is adopting strategies to decrease sugar consumption, (ii) the quest to decrease food wastage, where retailers adopt new platforms to deliver nearly expired products to consumers, (iii) the store circular, where retailers are faced with challenges in an environment with an increasing promotional pressure, and lastly (iv) product returns, a costly practice that retailers want to minimize. This set of papers produces tangible and actionable outcomes for brick-and-mortar as well as online retailers, that not only need to do well, but also good.

In “A War on Sugar? A Contingency Perspective on the Effectiveness of Retailers’ and Brands’ Efforts to Reduce Sugar Content in CPGs”, Keller and Guyt inspect how the retailing industry deals with an increasing pressure to launch products that contain less (or no) sugar. The performance implications of both sugar-reduction strategies (relative sugar content reduction and package size reductions) are empirically assessed and found to influence brand performance. The authors provide insights into boundary conditions of the effectiveness of these strategies.

In Defining the Leader and the Follower in a Two-Sided Market Problem: An Inactivity Analysis in the Food Waste Industry, Mullick, Raassens and Nijssen, study the market for FMCG products that are nearing expiration. The authors show how supply and demand influence each other, finding short-term positive demand effects of an increased availability of nearly-expired goods.

In “Revamping the Store Circular: Putting it into Context”, van Lin, Sotgiu and Gielens inspect which elements of the store circular influence feature promotion performance. The authors provide insights into how both ad design and context of the ad (similarity to other products and ads) affect performance, and how this effect is moderated by brand size.

In “Can nudges reduce norm-violating product returns?”, Johann, El Kihal, Schulze, and Skiera, inspect the efficacy of nudges in situations where norm-violating product returns are present. They generate insights on how retailers can reduce norm-violating product returns without harming sales.