The Effects of Facial Attractiveness and Gender on Customer Evaluations During a Web-video Sales Encounter

26 March 2013


The use of virtual environments as a support platform for demonstrating products and providing after-sales advice is today relatively commonplace. The Web-video interface represents a fundamental shift away from traditional selling atmospherics where the facial appearance of sales personnel replaces many traditional dimensions of service quality. Although salesperson attractiveness has previously been studied empirically, research into facial attractiveness remains scant. As gender has been proposed as a moderating factor in dyadic selling relationships, this study employs an experiment to test the combined effects of salesperson facial attractiveness, complainant gender, and salesperson gender, on three customer evaluations—satisfaction, perceived quality, and loyalty intentions—during a Web-video encounter. The findings show that facial appearance significantly affected satisfaction at the encounter level although not perceptions of overall service quality or intentions to repurchase. In addition, the study found that dyad gender mismatching resulted in higher customer satisfaction scores for an attractive salesperson. Based on these results, managerial implications and opportunities for future research are discussed. 

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