Scientific, Smart & Safe: Sensor Technology as a Marketing Tool to Increase Restaurant Visits During COVID-19
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- Master of Science 
Inspired by the possibilities of novel IoT sensor technology, this master’s thesis tests a new way to encourage customer visits to restaurants at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by recent advances in sensor technology and drawing from the servicescape and risk perception literature, we hypothesize that information about the regulation of environmental dimensions through IoT ambient and occupancy sensors increases customers’ willingness to visit restaurants by increasing customers’ perceived safety. We also argue that the effect of the information about the regulation of environmental dimensions through IoT sensors on customers’ perceived safety is moderated by the customers’ perceived threat of COVID-19. Data from an online experiment in Qualtrics with 392 adult restaurantgoers were analyzed in SPSS through mixed-model ANOVA, linear regressions, mediation with PROCESS, and GLM analysis. We found strong evidence that information about IoT sensors that regulate the restaurant’s environmental dimensions indirectly increases customers' willingness to visit the restaurant. We also found strong statistical evidence about the mediating role of perceived safety and the moderating role of customers’ perceived threat of COVID-19. We give theoretical and strategical recommendations for the implementation and value communication of IoT sensors as a marketing tool for reassuring customer safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2021