Research in retailing suggests that atmospherics influence store image and expectations of service and merchandise (Baker, Grewal, and Parasuraman: The Influence of Store Environment on Quality Inferences and Store Image. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 22 (Summer 1994) 328-339. Implicit to this stream of research is the realization that store atmospherics can enhance customers' quality perceptions, which lead, in turn, to higher levels of persuasion. This article examines an unexplored but potentially important area: the influence of store atmospherics on the level of persuasion induced by retail salespeople. The results of the research suggest that store ambience and design positively affect customers' persuasion as well as customers' positive perceptions of salespeople. Additionally, the research suggests that in "prestige ambience" stores, a reduction in the number of retail salespeople does not significantly affect customers' buying intentions. In contrast, in "discount ambience" stores, an increase in the number of retail salespeople dramatically enhances customers' buying intentions. Managerial implications of the research are suggested, and directions for future research are proposed, J BUSN RES 2000. 49. 183-191.
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