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Older consumers’ reaction to a patronizing sales interaction

Older consumers’ reaction to a patronizing sales interaction The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of patronizing by salespeople when interacting with older consumers in a retail situation of shopping for a mobile phone. In addition to patronizing behavior, the impact of the age of the salesperson and gender of the consumer are explored.Design/methodology/approachThe study is based on statistical analyzes of a between-participants controlled experiment collected via an online survey of 338 members of the German Senior Citizens League.FindingsThe study contributes to the field of services marketing by confirming that older consumers reject patronizing sales interactions and by showing that men are more tolerant of condescendence than women, especially when younger salespeople are involved.Research limitations/implicationsA limitation of this study is the use of fictional situations with a selected number of manipulated variables in a simulated sales interaction.Practical implicationsRejection of a patronizing sales interaction was found to be similar by both genders with an older salesperson. Furthermore, retail shops of technical appliances could prevent potential problems by being cautious of having younger male salespeople interacting with older women customers.Originality/valueResearch on the impact of condescending sales interaction as perceived by older consumers is scarce and has not previously considered the role of customer gender and salesperson age. Beyond investigating the perception of participants to patronizing, the role of the salesperson age and customer gender were investigated. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Services Marketing Emerald Publishing

Older consumers’ reaction to a patronizing sales interaction

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0887-6045
DOI
10.1108/jsm-11-2019-0436
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of patronizing by salespeople when interacting with older consumers in a retail situation of shopping for a mobile phone. In addition to patronizing behavior, the impact of the age of the salesperson and gender of the consumer are explored.Design/methodology/approachThe study is based on statistical analyzes of a between-participants controlled experiment collected via an online survey of 338 members of the German Senior Citizens League.FindingsThe study contributes to the field of services marketing by confirming that older consumers reject patronizing sales interactions and by showing that men are more tolerant of condescendence than women, especially when younger salespeople are involved.Research limitations/implicationsA limitation of this study is the use of fictional situations with a selected number of manipulated variables in a simulated sales interaction.Practical implicationsRejection of a patronizing sales interaction was found to be similar by both genders with an older salesperson. Furthermore, retail shops of technical appliances could prevent potential problems by being cautious of having younger male salespeople interacting with older women customers.Originality/valueResearch on the impact of condescending sales interaction as perceived by older consumers is scarce and has not previously considered the role of customer gender and salesperson age. Beyond investigating the perception of participants to patronizing, the role of the salesperson age and customer gender were investigated.

Journal

Journal of Services MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 14, 2021

Keywords: Gender; Retail; Service encounter; Baby boomers; Experimental design

References