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Together we stand: The solidarity effect of personized sellers on essential workers

Katina Kulow, PhD Bentley, K. Rajagopal, P.
Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. December 2, 2020

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The current research examines how products from personized sellers operate as a source of social support and solidarity for essential workers who are experiencing elevated levels of occupational stress since the advent of COVID-19. A series of experiments show that consumers who view themselves as essential workers prefer products from personized sellers (e.g., Etsy) compared to nonpersonized sellers (e.g., Amazon). These effects are driven by higher feelings of solidarity made salient by the personized seller. Our findings document a novel way by which consumers who are experiencing significantly high levels of occupational stress during the COVID-19 pandemic may seek social support and solidarity to help cope with this elevated stress, that is, purchasing products from personized sellers. Our findings offer valuable avenues for future research and provide important implications for policy makers during the pandemic.