The Language of Marketplace Rituals: Implications for Customer Experience Management

Cele C. Otnes, Behice Ece Ilhan, Atul Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The domain of customer experience management (hereafter, CEM) includes every point of customer contact with products, services or businesses (. Grewal, Levy, and Kumar 2009). In a recent special issue of the . Journal of Retailing, . Puccinelli et al. (2009) assert that a key atmospheric element of CEM that can shape customer satisfaction within the retail setting is the " interaction between the customer and employee" (p. 24). In this paper, we delve further into the social-interaction aspects of retail atmospherics, by focusing on how retailers and service providers use language to facilitate a specific type of provider/customer experience that we label the " marketplace ritual." We use depth interviews and participant observation to: (1) analyze the structure and function of the specific utterances providers identify as salient when creating and executing marketplace rituals; (2) discuss the ways language contributes to perceived strategic CEM-related outcomes; and (3) examine providers' perceptions of the potentially negative consequences of ritual language for CEM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-383
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Communication
  • Customer experience management
  • Language
  • Retail atmospherics
  • Rituals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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