By Hengchen Dai
Short-lived and experiential-oriented pop-up stores have become a mainstream retail strategy. We provide the first causal evidence on how pop-up stores affect consumers’ subsequent behaviors. In a randomized field experiment involving approximately 800,000 consumers with Alibaba Group—China’s largest e-commerce company—we randomly assigned consumers to either receive a message about an upcoming week-long pop-up store event organized by Alibaba (the treatment group) or not receive any message about the event (the control group). For brands that participated in the event and non-participating brands in the same product category, we track consumers’ searches and purchases at these brands’ online stores on Alibaba’s retailing platform (Tmall.com). We find that our messaging treatment increased foot traffic to the pop-up store and, more importantly, online traffic to participating brands’ Tmall stores. Using WiFi tracking technology to track customer foot traffic, we causally estimate that visiting the pop-up store significantly increased consumers’ searches and purchases at participating brands’ Tmall stores during the post-opening period. New consumers showed a larger relative increase in online activities after receiving our messaging treatment, as compared to existing consumers. Furthermore, from a platform perspective, we find that our messaging treatment increased consumers’ searches and purchases at non-participating brands’ Tmall stores, which was driven by the positive spillover effects of actually visiting the pop-up store on consumers’ online engagement with non-participating brands. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings for omni-channel retailing.
In a given day, people make decisions about what tasks to pursue in order to reach their goals. These tasks can differ in terms of length and difficulty with some tasks taking more time, like writing a paper, and some taking less time, like answering an email. Given that their tasks are often not equal, how should people order their tasks throughout the day in order to increase their persistence and reach their goals? Prior research on the goal gradient hypothesis has suggested that people are more motivated as they move closer to their goal (Kivetz, Urminsky, & Zheng, 2006). However, is their motivation influenced more by the absolute progress they make (e.g., completing 70% of a task) or on the discrete number of subgoals they complete (e.g., completing 2 out of 3 subtasks)?