Marketing scholars have developed a solid literature on servicescapes, the physical environments where services are performed, delivered and consumed, with a particular interest in themed retail environments. Themed servicescapes rely heavily on signs and symbols and emplaced ideologies to build brands, attract consumers, and increase sales. We extend this literature by introducing, defining and theorizing the cosmopolitan servicescape, one that emplaces the cosmopolitan ideology by supporting performances of consumer cosmopolitanism. By drawing on an ethnographic examination of a quintessential cosmopolitan servicescape, Red Rooster Harlem, and applying an analytical lens grounded in the cultural understanding of retail spaces, we conceptualize the cosmopolitan servicescape in relation to other themed environments. Cosmopolitan servicescapes provide consumers a playground for encounters with cultural difference through enlisting cultural resources that shift out in time, place, and identity, thus enabling the performance of cosmopolitan competence. In addition, cosmopolitan servicescapes juxtapose cultural resources to create incongruent meanings, promote heteroglossia, and appeal to different levels of cosmopolitan competence. Finally, cosmopolitan servicescapes use decoding cues to facilitate cosmopolitan engagement and recognition cues to frame the environment as cosmopolitan. These findings contribute to the themed retailing literature and provide guidelines for managers and servicescape designers interested in creating an emplaced strategy for attracting cosmopolitan consumers.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 11. October 2020
- Cosmopolitan servicescapes
- Retail ideology
- Themed retailing