While many retailing businesses have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by instituting various new rules, there is scant research examining how to effectively communicate such preventive measures to customers. This study investigates the joint effect of policy type (mandatory versus voluntary) and message framing (appreciation versus apology) on customers’ compliance and revisit intention. An online experiment was conducted with 201 US participants. Results suggest that when the message is framed with appreciation, a mandatory (vs. voluntary) mask-wearing policy causes less reactance, leading to higher compliance and revisit intention. However, such differences are attenuated with apologetic messaging. Practical implications for retailer-customer communications on crisis policies are discussed.
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