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Retail Heroes and Villains of COVID-19: Quantifying Emotional Reactions to Corporate Decisions

Many retail giants have been faced with a choice this week….close their stores or keep them open. How stores handle this could have long term emotional ramifications, as this has been a highly emotional topic for consumers.


Recently, Michaels Stores made the decision to keep their stores open during the pandemic (see below). With deeper analysis, Cognovi saw an exponential increase in anger toward Michaels for not closing their stores. Initially, the alerts were about consumers shopping for crafts to do while quarantined. Consumers have expressed anger toward Michaels for keeping their doors open instead of closing and risking health and safety of its employees and customers.

In contrast, consumer’s feelings are quite the opposite about organizations like Macy's who have made the decision to be closed during this worldwide pandemic . After this announcement was made, the Cognovi EMOTION AI tool detected a wave of joy. Consumers felt good about Macy's for taking this measure, even rejoicing saying they were putting their people before profits. As more retailers decide to stay open or closed, consumers will remember who put the best interest of their employees and customers ahead of making money.

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