The Cosmopolitan Servicescape

Bernardo Figueiredo*, Hanne Pico Larsen, Jonathan Bean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

41 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 11. October 2020.


  • Cosmopolitan servicescapes
  • Retail ideology
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Themed retailing
  • Ethnography

Cite this