Economics at your fingertips  

Aesthetic labor and visible diversity: The role in retailing service encounters

Sara Quach, Charles Jebarajakirthy and Park Thaichon

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2017, vol. 38, issue C, 34-43

Abstract: This study endeavors to investigate the role of the appearance of customer service staff in forming customer perceptions. It also aims to fill the gap in existing knowledge by exploring the notion of visible diversity, for example, ethnicity, age, gender and perceived sexual orientation of store staff in service encounter from the customers’ perspective. The study adopted a qualitative, inductive approach in data collection using a sample of 30 customers from leading Australian fashion retailers. This study identifies three themes explaining customer perceptions of staff's aesthetic labor, namely mirroring appearance, matching appearance, and charming appearance, which can be explained by the social identity theory, role theory and aesthetic capital. It is found that staff appearance might affect customers’ intention to revisit but does not guarantee sales. In addition, based on signaling theory, the results show that age, ethnicity, gender and perceived sexual orientation of the retail store staff are meaningful factors in determining customers’ attitudes and behavior. This study is one of the first that takes aspects of visible diversity into account along with aesthetic labor and customer experience in a retail setting.

Keywords: Aesthetic Labor; Appearance; Customer Service; Age; Gender; Retail (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.05.004

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services is currently edited by Harry Timmermans

More articles in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Haili He ().

Page updated 2020-05-02
Handle: RePEc:eee:joreco:v:38:y:2017:i:c:p:34-43