Mc Graw Hill Education
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From physical to virtual: the impact of servicescape on costumers’ behaviour
Over the last 20 years, the service sector has grown in most developed as well as developing countries, to the point that the world economy can today be defined as a service economy. Compared to 20 years ago, to date services account for a higher percentage of OECD member countries’ GDP and represent a key source of employment for populations. In response to this increased importance of services, ad hoc strategies able to effectively manage the challenges posed by services’ intrinsic characteristics have been developed by scholars over the years. One of the major challenges organizations have to face is related to the intangible nature of services – a characteristic which can cause managerial problems for firms but can be minimized by including in the service setting specific “tangible” cues that are easily recognizable and understandable by customers. Accordingly, the environment in which the service processes take place (i.e. the servicescape) plays a crucial role. Stemming from these considerations, this book analyses the role of the servicescape – both physical and virtual – that can be considered a core component in a firm’s value proposition and to which customers often refer as an important quality signal that is able to shape their perceptions of a firm’s image and positioning strategy. In doing so, the study initially provides an updated and in-depth analysis of the latest academic thinking about the role both of the physical and virtual servicescape. Subsequently, it empirically sheds light on the effects that the servicescape exerts on customers’ behaviour, suggesting possible future research directions as well as intriguing practical managerial implications.