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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

The Impact of Different Touchpoints on Consumer Offline Word-of-Mouth Incidence and Valence

Published: May 28, 2019


Shane Baxendale, Cranfield University; Emma Macdonald, University of Warwick; Hugh Wilson, University of Warwick


touchpoints; offline-WOM; omnichannel


Word-of-mouth (WOM) generates $6 trillion in sales with offline WOM (oWOM) estimated to be twice as impactful as electronic WOM (eWOM). However, there is little research identifying the touchpoints that drive oWOM. This study uses a Tobit Type-II model to identify the impact of eight different touchpoints on the likelihood to initiate oWOM and its associated valence – the extent to which the oWOM is positive. 142,525 consumers participated in a mobile diary to record their touchpoint encounters with brands over seven days; 1,555 reported initiating oWOM. Findings include that social touchpoints – receiving oWOM and peer observation – have a large impact on giving oWOM, as does brand service. When perceived as negative, brick-and-mortar store visits can generate negative oWOM. Brand advertising generates positive oWOM but only when consumers perceive it as very positive. Measuring relative impact of the complete range of touchpoints on oWOM should be subject to further research.