Nancy M. Puccinelli
Sa¨ d Business School, Oxford University and College of Business Administraı tion, Northeastern University
Synthesizing knowledge from psychology and marketing research, an understanding of nonverbal communication can help address when and how customers express their underlying feelings in retail interactions that are not evident in direct verbal expressions. Examining nonverbal behavior as an indirect measure of consumer response can enable retailers to better understand the needs of their customers. Nonverbal communication theory is used to develop a conceptual framework that builds on prior research on the situation, expressivity, social status, display rules, and their effects on customer expression. Lay wisdom suggests that customer expression should be revealing (e.g., “the eyes are the windows to the soul”). However, research reveals a myriad of situational factors that may lead customers to mask their true feelings. This paper offers nine theoretical propositions and summarizes research evidence related to these pro-positions from various substantive domains for marketing research. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 27(10): 964–988 (October 2010) View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/mar.20368 964
Imagine that, after months of Internet research and casual discussions with friends and family members, you finally decide to visit the dealership to purchase the car you want to buy. Imagine too that it is a little pricey, but it is your dream car and you’re excited by the prospect of driving it home that very day. However, as you approach a salesperson, you realize that expressing your excitement would put you at a significant disadvantage in negotiating the best sales price.