research articles on service marketing

Journal of Services Marketing

  • Submit your paper
  • Author guidelines
  • Editorial team
  • Indexing & metrics
  • Calls for papers & news

Before you start

For queries relating to the status of your paper pre decision, please contact the Editor or Journal Editorial Office. For queries post acceptance, please contact the Supplier Project Manager. These details can be found in the Editorial Team section.

Author responsibilities

Our goal is to provide you with a professional and courteous experience at each stage of the review and publication process. There are also some responsibilities that sit with you as the author. Our expectation is that you will:

  • Respond swiftly to any queries during the publication process.
  • Be accountable for all aspects of your work. This includes investigating and resolving any questions about accuracy or research integrity
  • Treat communications between you and the journal editor as confidential until an editorial decision has been made.
  • Include anyone who has made a substantial and meaningful contribution to the submission (anyone else involved in the paper should be listed in the acknowledgements).
  • Exclude anyone who hasn’t contributed to the paper, or who has chosen not to be associated with the research.
  • In accordance with COPE’s position statement on AI tools , Large Language Models cannot be credited with authorship as they are incapable of conceptualising a research design without human direction and cannot be accountable for the integrity, originality, and validity of the published work.
  • If your article involves human participants, you must ensure you have considered whether or not you require ethical approval for your research, and include this information as part of your submission. Find out more about informed consent .

Research and publishing ethics

Our editors and employees work hard to ensure the content we publish is ethically sound. To help us achieve that goal, we closely follow the advice laid out in the guidelines and flowcharts on the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) website .

We have also developed our research and publishing ethics guidelines . If you haven’t already read these, we urge you to do so – they will help you avoid the most common publishing ethics issues.

A few key points:

  • Any manuscript you submit to this journal should be original. That means it should not have been published before in its current, or similar, form. Exceptions to this rule are outlined in our pre-print and conference paper policies .  If any substantial element of your paper has been previously published, you need to declare this to the journal editor upon submission. Please note, the journal editor may use  Crossref Similarity Check  to check on the originality of submissions received. This service compares submissions against a database of 49 million works from 800 scholarly publishers.
  • Your work should not have been submitted elsewhere and should not be under consideration by any other publication.
  • If you have a conflict of interest, you must declare it upon submission; this allows the editor to decide how they would like to proceed. Read about conflict of interest in our research and publishing ethics guidelines .
  • By submitting your work to Emerald, you are guaranteeing that the work is not in infringement of any existing copyright.

Third party copyright permissions

Prior to article submission, you need to ensure you’ve applied for, and received, written permission to use any material in your manuscript that has been created by a third party. Please note, we are unable to publish any article that still has permissions pending. The rights we require are:

  • Non-exclusive rights to reproduce the material in the article or book chapter.
  • Print and electronic rights.
  • Worldwide English-language rights.
  • To use the material for the life of the work. That means there should be no time restrictions on its re-use e.g. a one-year licence.

We are a member of the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) and participate in the STM permissions guidelines , a reciprocal free exchange of material with other STM publishers.  In some cases, this may mean that you don’t need permission to re-use content. If so, please highlight this at the submission stage.

Please take a few moments to read our guide to publishing permissions  to ensure you have met all the requirements, so that we can process your submission without delay.

Open access submissions and information

All our journals currently offer two open access (OA) publishing paths; gold open access and green open access.

If you would like to, or are required to, make the branded publisher PDF (also known as the version of record) freely available immediately upon publication, you can select the gold open access route once your paper is accepted.

If you’ve chosen to publish gold open access, this is the point you will be asked to pay the APC (article processing charge) . This varies per journal and can be found on our APC price list or on the editorial system at the point of submission. Your article will be published with a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 user licence , which outlines how readers can reuse your work.

Alternatively, if you would like to, or are required to, publish open access but your funding doesn’t cover the cost of the APC, you can choose the green open access, or self-archiving, route. As soon as your article is published, you can make the author accepted manuscript (the version accepted for publication) openly available, free from payment and embargo periods.

You can find out more about our open access routes, our APCs and waivers and read our FAQs on our open research page. 

Find out about open

Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines

We are a signatory of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines , a framework that supports the reproducibility of research through the adoption of transparent research practices. That means we encourage you to:

  • Cite and fully reference all data, program code, and other methods in your article.
  • Include persistent identifiers, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), in references for datasets and program codes. Persistent identifiers ensure future access to unique published digital objects, such as a piece of text or datasets. Persistent identifiers are assigned to datasets by digital archives, such as institutional repositories and partners in the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS).
  • Follow appropriate international and national procedures with respect to data protection, rights to privacy and other ethical considerations, whenever you cite data. For further guidance please refer to our  research and publishing ethics guidelines . For an example on how to cite datasets, please refer to the references section below.

Prepare your submission

Manuscript support services.

We are pleased to partner with Editage, a platform that connects you with relevant experts in language support, translation, editing, visuals, consulting, and more. After you’ve agreed a fee, they will work with you to enhance your manuscript and get it submission-ready.

This is an optional service for authors who feel they need a little extra support. It does not guarantee your work will be accepted for review or publication.

Visit Editage

Manuscript requirements

Before you submit your manuscript, it’s important you read and follow the guidelines below. You will also find some useful tips in our structure your journal submission how-to guide.

Article files should be provided in Microsoft Word format

While you are welcome to submit a PDF of the document alongside the Word file, PDFs alone are not acceptable. LaTeX files can also be used but only if an accompanying PDF document is provided. Acceptable figure file types are listed further below.

Articles should be between 9000 – 11,000 words in length at initial submission with a maximum of 12,000 words in the final accepted version. This includes all text, for example, the structured abstract, references, all text in tables, and figures and appendices. 

Please allow 280 words for each figure or table.

A concisely worded title should be provided. No more than 11 words to be in the title, we recommend titles that are appealing and interesting. See our   , for  details

The names of all contributing authors should be added to the ScholarOne submission; please list them in the order in which you’d like them to be published. Each contributing author will need their own ScholarOne author account, from which we will extract the following details:

(institutional preferred). . We will reproduce it exactly, so any middle names and/or initials they want featured must be included. . This should be where they were based when the research for the paper was conducted.

In multi-authored papers, it’s important that ALL authors that have made a significant contribution to the paper are listed. Those who have provided support but have not contributed to the research should be featured in an acknowledgements section. You should never include people who have not contributed to the paper or who don’t want to be associated with the research. Read about our for authorship.

If you want to include these items, save them in a separate Microsoft Word document and upload the file with your submission. Where they are included, a brief professional biography of not more than 100 words should be supplied for each named author.

Your article must reference all sources of external research funding in the acknowledgements section. You should describe the role of the funder or financial sponsor in the entire research process, from study design to submission.

All submissions must include a structured abstract, following the format outlined below.

These four sub-headings and their accompanying explanations must always be included:

The following three sub-headings are optional and can be included, if applicable:

You can find some useful tips in our  how-to guide.

The maximum length of your abstract should be 250 words in total, including keywords and article classification (see the sections below).

Your submission should include up to 12 appropriate and short keywords that capture the principal topics of the paper. Our  how to guide contains some practical guidance on choosing search-engine friendly keywords.

Please note, while we will always try to use the keywords you’ve suggested, the in-house editorial team may replace some of them with matching terms to ensure consistency across publications and improve your article’s visibility.

During the submission process, you will be asked to select a type for your paper; the options are listed below. If you don’t see an exact match, please choose the best fit:

You will also be asked to select a category for your paper. The options for this are listed below. If you don’t see an exact match, please choose the best fit:

 Reports on any type of research undertaken by the author(s), including:

 Covers any paper where content is dependent on the author's opinion and interpretation. This includes journalistic and magazine-style pieces.

 Describes and evaluates technical products, processes or services.

 Focuses on developing hypotheses and is usually discursive. Covers philosophical discussions and comparative studies of other authors’ work and thinking.

 Describes actual interventions or experiences within organizations. It can be subjective and doesn’t generally report on research. Also covers a description of a legal case or a hypothetical case study used as a teaching exercise.

 This category should only be used if the main purpose of the paper is to annotate and/or critique the literature in a particular field. It could be a selective bibliography providing advice on information sources, or the paper may aim to cover the main contributors to the development of a topic and explore their different views.

 Provides an overview or historical examination of some concept, technique or phenomenon. Papers are likely to be more descriptive or instructional (‘how to’ papers) than discursive.

Additional information may be included for both review and access alongside the published article. This appendix can contain literature tables and references for systematic literature reviews, full measurement instruments, and additional analysis. The content in the web appendix must not be central to the argument or rigour of the paper and should be referred to in the paper as (see web appendix). When submitting the web appendix, please classify the file as a Supplementary file for review.

Headings must be concise, with a clear indication of the required hierarchy. 

The preferred format is for first level headings to be in bold, and subsequent sub-headings to be in medium italics.

The required headings are:

Empirical papers:

Conceptual papers:

Notes or endnotes should only be used if absolutely necessary. They should be identified in the text by consecutive numbers enclosed in square brackets. These numbers should then be listed, and explained, at the end of the article.

All figures (charts, diagrams, line drawings, webpages/screenshots, and photographic images) should be submitted electronically. Both colour and black and white files are accepted.

There are a few other important points to note:

Tables should be typed and submitted in a separate file to the main body of the article. The position of each table should be clearly labelled in the main body of the article with corresponding labels clearly shown in the table file. Tables should be numbered consecutively in Roman numerals (e.g. I, II, etc.).

Give each table a brief title. Ensure that any superscripts or asterisks are shown next to the relevant items and have explanations displayed as footnotes to the table, figure or plate.

Where tables, figures, appendices, and other additional content are supplementary to the article but not critical to the reader’s understanding of it, you can choose to host these supplementary files alongside your article on Insight, Emerald’s content hosting platform, or on an institutional or personal repository. All supplementary material must be submitted prior to acceptance.

, you must submit these as separate files alongside your article. Files should be clearly labelled in such a way that makes it clear they are supplementary; Emerald recommends that the file name is descriptive and that it follows the format ‘Supplementary_material_appendix_1’ or ‘Supplementary tables’. . A link to the supplementary material will be added to the article during production, and the material will be made available alongside the main text of the article at the point of EarlyCite publication.

Please note that Emerald will not make any changes to the material; it will not be copyedited, typeset, and authors will not receive proofs. Emerald therefore strongly recommends that you style all supplementary material ahead of acceptance of the article.

Emerald Insight can host the following file types and extensions:

, you should ensure that the supplementary material is hosted on the repository ahead of submission, and then include a link only to the repository within the article. It is the responsibility of the submitting author to ensure that the material is free to access and that it remains permanently available.

Please note that extensive supplementary material may be subject to peer review; this is at the discretion of the journal Editor and dependent on the content of the material (for example, whether including it would support the reviewer making a decision on the article during the peer review process).

All references in your manuscript must be formatted using one of the recognised Harvard styles. You are welcome to use the Harvard style Emerald has adopted – we’ve provided a detailed guide below. Want to use a different Harvard style? That’s fine, our typesetters will make any necessary changes to your manuscript if it is accepted. Please ensure you check all your citations for completeness, accuracy and consistency.

References to other publications in your text should be written as follows:

, 2006) Please note, ‘ ' should always be written in italics.

A few other style points. These apply to both the main body of text and your final list of references.

At the end of your paper, please supply a reference list in alphabetical order using the style guidelines below. Where a DOI is available, this should be included at the end of the reference.

Surname, initials (year),  , publisher, place of publication.

e.g. Harrow, R. (2005),  , Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

Surname, initials (year), "chapter title", editor's surname, initials (Ed.), , publisher, place of publication, page numbers.

e.g. Calabrese, F.A. (2005), "The early pathways: theory to practice – a continuum", Stankosky, M. (Ed.),  , Elsevier, New York, NY, pp.15-20.

Surname, initials (year), "title of article",  , volume issue, page numbers.

e.g. Capizzi, M.T. and Ferguson, R. (2005), "Loyalty trends for the twenty-first century",  , Vol. 22 No. 2, pp.72-80.

Surname, initials (year of publication), "title of paper", in editor’s surname, initials (Ed.),  , publisher, place of publication, page numbers.

e.g. Wilde, S. and Cox, C. (2008), “Principal factors contributing to the competitiveness of tourism destinations at varying stages of development”, in Richardson, S., Fredline, L., Patiar A., & Ternel, M. (Ed.s),  , Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld, pp.115-118.

Surname, initials (year), "title of paper", paper presented at [name of conference], [date of conference], [place of conference], available at: URL if freely available on the internet (accessed date).

e.g. Aumueller, D. (2005), "Semantic authoring and retrieval within a wiki", paper presented at the European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC), 29 May-1 June, Heraklion, Crete, available at:  ;(accessed 20 February 2007).

Surname, initials (year), "title of article", working paper [number if available], institution or organization, place of organization, date.

e.g. Moizer, P. (2003), "How published academic research can inform policy decisions: the case of mandatory rotation of audit appointments", working paper, Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, 28 March.

 (year), "title of entry", volume, edition, title of encyclopaedia, publisher, place of publication, page numbers.

e.g.   (1926), "Psychology of culture contact", Vol. 1, 13th ed., Encyclopaedia Britannica, London and New York, NY, pp.765-771.

(for authored entries, please refer to book chapter guidelines above)

Surname, initials (year), "article title",  , date, page numbers.

e.g. Smith, A. (2008), "Money for old rope",  , 21 January, pp.1, 3-4.

 (year), "article title", date, page numbers.

e.g.   (2008), "Small change", 2 February, p.7.

Surname, initials (year), "title of document", unpublished manuscript, collection name, inventory record, name of archive, location of archive.

e.g. Litman, S. (1902), "Mechanism & Technique of Commerce", unpublished manuscript, Simon Litman Papers, Record series 9/5/29 Box 3, University of Illinois Archives, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

If available online, the full URL should be supplied at the end of the reference, as well as the date that the resource was accessed.

Surname, initials (year), “title of electronic source”, available at: persistent URL (accessed date month year).

e.g. Weida, S. and Stolley, K. (2013), “Developing strong thesis statements”, available at: (accessed 20 June 2018)

Standalone URLs, i.e. those without an author or date, should be included either inside parentheses within the main text, or preferably set as a note (Roman numeral within square brackets within text followed by the full URL address at the end of the paper).

Surname, initials (year),  , name of data repository, available at: persistent URL, (accessed date month year).

e.g. Campbell, A. and Kahn, R.L. (2015),  , ICPSR07218-v4, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (distributor), Ann Arbor, MI, available at:  (accessed 20 June 2018)

Submit your manuscript

There are a number of key steps you should follow to ensure a smooth and trouble-free submission.

Double check your manuscript

Before submitting your work, it is your responsibility to check that the manuscript is complete, grammatically correct, and without spelling or typographical errors. A few other important points:

  • Give the journal aims and scope a final read. Is your manuscript definitely a good fit? If it isn’t, the editor may decline it without peer review.
  • Does your manuscript comply with our research and publishing ethics guidelines ?
  • Have you cleared any necessary publishing permissions ?
  • Have you followed all the formatting requirements laid out in these author guidelines?
  • If you need to refer to your own work, use wording such as ‘previous research has demonstrated’ not ‘our previous research has demonstrated’.
  • If you need to refer to your own, currently unpublished work, don’t include this work in the reference list.
  • Any acknowledgments or author biographies should be uploaded as separate files.
  • Carry out a final check to ensure that no author names appear anywhere in the manuscript. This includes in figures or captions.

You will find a helpful submission checklist on the website Think.Check.Submit .

The submission process

All manuscripts should be submitted through our editorial system by the corresponding author.

The only way to submit to the journal is through the journal’s ScholarOne site as accessed via the Emerald website, and not by email or through any third-party agent/company, journal representative, or website. Submissions should be done directly by the author(s) through the ScholarOne site and not via a third-party proxy on their behalf.

A separate author account is required for each journal you submit to. If this is your first time submitting to this journal, please choose the Create an account or Register now option in the editorial system. If you already have an Emerald login, you are welcome to reuse the existing username and password here.

Please note, the next time you log into the system, you will be asked for your username. This will be the email address you entered when you set up your account.

Don't forget to add your  ORCiD ID during the submission process. It will be embedded in your published article, along with a link to the ORCiD registry allowing others to easily match you with your work.

Don’t have one yet? It only takes a few moments to register for a free ORCiD identifier .

Visit the ScholarOne support centre  for further help and guidance.

What you can expect next

You will receive an automated email from the journal editor, confirming your successful submission. It will provide you with a manuscript number, which will be used in all future correspondence about your submission. If you have any reason to suspect the confirmation email you receive might be fraudulent, please contact our Rights team on [email protected]

Post submission

Review and decision process.

Each submission is checked by the editor. At this stage, they may choose to decline or unsubmit your manuscript if it doesn’t fit the journal aims and scope, or they feel the language/manuscript quality is too low.

If they think it might be suitable for the publication, they will send it to at least two independent referees for double anonymous peer review.  Once these reviewers have provided their feedback, the editor may decide to accept your manuscript, request minor or major revisions, or decline your work.

This journal offers an article transfer service. If the editor decides to decline your manuscript, either before or after peer review, they may offer to transfer it to a more relevant Emerald journal in this field. If you accept, your ScholarOne author account, and the accounts of your co-authors, will automatically transfer to the new journal, along with your manuscript and any accompanying peer review reports. However, you will still need to log in to ScholarOne to complete the submission process using your existing username and password. While accepting a transfer does not guarantee the receiving journal will publish your work, an editor will only suggest a transfer if they feel your article is a good fit with the new title.

While all journals work to different timescales, the goal is that the editor will inform you of their first decision within 60 days.

During this period, we will send you automated updates on the progress of your manuscript via our submission system, or you can log in to check on the current status of your paper.  Each time we contact you, we will quote the manuscript number you were given at the point of submission. If you receive an email that does not match these criteria, it could be fraudulent and we recommend you email [email protected] .

Manuscript transfer service

Emerald’s manuscript transfer service takes the pain out of the submission process if your manuscript doesn’t fit your initial journal choice. Our team of expert Editors from participating journals work together to identify alternative journals that better align with your research, ensuring your work finds the ideal publication home it deserves. Our dedicated team is committed to supporting authors like you in finding the right home for your research.

If a journal is participating in the manuscript transfer program, the Editor has the option to recommend your paper for transfer. If a transfer decision is made by the Editor, you will receive an email with the details of the recommended journal and the option to accept or reject the transfer. It’s always down to you as the author to decide if you’d like to accept. If you do accept, your paper and any reviewer reports will automatically be transferred to the recommended journals. Authors will then confirm resubmissions in the new journal’s ScholarOne system.

Our Manuscript Transfer Service page has more information on the process.

If your submission is accepted

Open access.

Once your paper is accepted, you will have the opportunity to indicate whether you would like to publish your paper via the gold open access route.

If you’ve chosen to publish gold open access, this is the point you will be asked to pay the APC (article processing charge).  This varies per journal and can be found on our APC price list or on the editorial system at the point of submission. Your article will be published with a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 user licence , which outlines how readers can reuse your work.

All accepted authors are sent an email with a link to a licence form.  This should be checked for accuracy, for example whether contact and affiliation details are up to date and your name is spelled correctly, and then returned to us electronically. If there is a reason why you can’t assign copyright to us, you should discuss this with your journal content editor. You will find their contact details on the editorial team section above.

Proofing and typesetting

Once we have received your completed licence form, the article will pass directly into the production process. We will carry out editorial checks, copyediting, and typesetting and then return proofs to you (if you are the corresponding author) for your review. This is your opportunity to correct any typographical errors, grammatical errors or incorrect author details. We can’t accept requests to rewrite texts at this stage.

When the page proofs are finalised, the fully typeset and proofed version of record is published online. This is referred to as the EarlyCite version. While an EarlyCite article has yet to be assigned to a volume or issue, it does have a digital object identifier (DOI) and is fully citable. It will be compiled into an issue according to the journal’s issue schedule, with papers being added by chronological date of publication.

How to share your paper

Visit our author rights page  to find out how you can reuse and share your work.

To find tips on increasing the visibility of your published paper, read about  how to promote your work .

Correcting inaccuracies in your published paper

Sometimes errors are made during the research, writing and publishing processes. When these issues arise, we have the option of withdrawing the paper or introducing a correction notice. Find out more about our  article withdrawal and correction policies .

Need to make a change to the author list? See our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Frequently Asked Questions

The only time we will ever ask you for money to publish in an Emerald journal is if you have chosen to publish via the gold open access route. You will be asked to pay an APC (article-processing charge) once your paper has been accepted (unless it is a sponsored open access journal), and never at submission.

Read about our APCs

At no other time will you be asked to contribute financially towards your article’s publication, processing, or review. If you haven’t chosen gold open access and you receive an email that appears to be from Emerald, the journal, or a third party, asking you for payment to publish, please contact our support team via  [email protected] .

Senior Co-Editor

  • Professor Mark S Rosenbaum The Citadel - USA [email protected]
  • Professor Kristina Heinonen Hanken Business School - Finland [email protected]

Associate Editor

  • Associate Professor Linda Alkire Texas State University - USA
  • Professor Stacey Menzel Baker Creighton University - USA
  • Professor Amanda Beatson Queensland University - Australia
  • Assistant professor Gabriela Beirão University of Porto - Portugal
  • Professor Kimmy Chan Hong Kong Baptist University - Hong Kong
  • Professor Tom Chen University of Kent - UK
  • Professor J Joseph Cronin, Jr., Ph.D Florida State University - USA
  • Professor Joerg Finsterwalder University of Canterbury - New Zealand
  • Professor Ross Gordon University of Technology Sydney - Australia
  • Professor Wafa Hammedi University of Namur - Belgium
  • Professor Thomas Hollmann Arizona State University - USA
  • Professor Raechel Johns University of Canberra - Australia
  • Professor Sertan Kabadayi Fordham University - USA
  • Professor Ingo Karpen Karlstad University - Sweden
  • Professor Philipp Klaus International University of Monaco, INSECC Research Center - Monaco
  • Professor Volker Kuppelwieser NEOMA Business School - France
  • Associate Professor Kate Letheren Australian Catholic University - Australia
  • Professor Rory Mulcahy University of the Sunshine Coast - Australia
  • Associate Professor Ramendra Thakur University of Louisiana at Lafayette - USA
  • Professor Rodoula Tsiotsou University of Macedonia - Greece
  • Associate Professor Josina Vink Oslo School of Architecture and Design - Norway
  • Richard Whitfield [email protected]

Journal Editorial Office (For queries related to pre-acceptance)

  • Sanjana Kuril Emerald Publishing [email protected]

Supplier Project Manager (For queries related to post-acceptance)

  • Sonali Durge Emerald Publishing [email protected]

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Assistant Professor Melissa Akaka University of Denver - USA
  • Dr Levent Altinay Oxford Brookes University - UK
  • Assistant Professor Nwamaka Anaza Southern Illinois University Carbondale - USA
  • Professor Nicholas J. Ashill Victoria University of Wellington - New Zealand
  • Assistant Professor Todd Bacile Loyola University New Orleans - USA
  • Associate Professor Thomas Baker University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa - USA
  • Associate Professor Donald Barnes University of North Carolina Wilmington - USA
  • Professor Sabine Benoit University of Surrey - UK
  • Professor Blaise J Bergiel University of West Georgia - USA
  • Professor Jeffrey Blodgett University of Houston - Victoria - USA
  • Professor Liliana Bove The University of Melbourne - Australia
  • Professor Matthew Bunker University of Northern Iowa - USA
  • Professor Jamie Burton Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester - UK
  • Associate Professor Mark Anthony Camilleri University of Malta - Malta
  • Dr Walid Chaouali University of Jendouba - Tunisia
  • Associate Professor Charlene Dadzie University of South Alabama - USA
  • Associate Professor Gopal Das Indian Institute of Management Bangalore - India
  • Professor Kate L. Daunt Cardiff Business School - UK
  • Dr Janet Davey Victoria University Wellington - New Zealand
  • Professor Barry J Davies University of Gloucestershire - UK
  • Associate Professor Phillippe Duverger Towson University - USA
  • Dr Dahlia El-Manstrly University of Edinburgh Business School - UK
  • Professor David Faulds University of Louisville - USA
  • Dr. Raymond P. Fisk ServCollab - USA
  • Professor Dale Fodness University of Dallas - USA
  • Dr Tony Garry University of Otago - New Zealand
  • Professor Mario Giraldo Universidad del Norte - Barranquilla - Colombia
  • Professor Dominique Greer Queensland University of Technology - Australia
  • Assistant Professor Amy Gregory University of Central Florida - USA
  • Professor Stephen J Grove Clemson University - USA
  • Dr Johanna Katariina Gummerus Hanken School of Economics - Finland
  • Professor John D. Hansen University of Alabama at Birmingham - USA
  • Associate Professor Eric G. Harris Pittsburg State University - USA
  • Professor Lloyd Harris University of Birmingham - UK
  • Professor Kim Harris-Cassidy Nottingham Trent University - UK
  • Professor Kristina Heinonen Hanken School of Economics - Finland
  • Professor Toni Hilton Glasgow Caledonian University - UK
  • Linda D. Hollebeek Sunway University - Malaysia
  • Professor Jonas Holmqvist Kedge Business School - France
  • Professor Tim Hughes University of the West of England - UK
  • Professor Elina Jaakkola University of Turku - Finland
  • Professor Lester W Johnson Swinburne University - Australia
  • Dr Byron Keating Queensland University of Technology - Australia
  • Professor Scott W. Kelley University of Kentucky - USA
  • Professor Christian Kowalkowski Linköping University - Sweden
  • Dr Bodo Lang University of Auckland - New Zealand
  • Professor Bart Larivière Center for Service Intelligence – Ghent University - Belgium
  • Dr Tiffany Legendre University of Houston - USA
  • Professor Annouk Lievens University of Antwerp - Belgium
  • Associate Professor Heejin Lim University of Tennessee - USA
  • Professor Dominik Mahr Maastricht University - Netherlands
  • Associate Professor David Martin Auburn University - USA
  • Associate Professor Lee McGinnis Stonehill College - USA
  • Associate Professor Joanna Melancon Western Kentucky University - USA
  • Dr Kars Mennens Maastricht University - Netherlands
  • Dr. Kalyani Menon Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University - Canada
  • Associate Professor Duane Nagel Wichita State University - USA
  • Professor Richard Nicholls Worcester Business School, University of Worcester - UK
  • Professor Aron O'Cass Macquarie University - Australia
  • Professor Lisa O'Malley University of Limerick - Ireland
  • Professor Gaby Oderkerken Maastricht University - Netherlands
  • Dr Jason Oliver East Carolina University - USA
  • Professor Adrian J Palmer University of Wales Swansea - UK
  • Professor Joy Parkinson Australian Catholic University - Australia
  • Professor Lia Patricio University of Porto - Portugal
  • Professor Anthony Patterson Lancaster University - UK
  • Professor Paul G Patterson The University of New South Wales - Australia
  • Associate Professor Maria Raciti University of Sunshine Coast - Australia
  • Professor Javier Reynoso EGADE, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey - Mexico
  • Associate Professor Nichola Robertson Deakin University - Australia
  • Professor Michel Rod Carleton University - Canada
  • Associate Professor Sanjit Kumar Roy The University of Western Australia (Australia)
  • Dr László Sajtos The University of Auckland - New Zealand
  • Dr Tali Seger-Guttmann Ruppin Academic Center - Israel
  • Dr Harjit Sekhon Coventry University - UK
  • Associate Professor Daniel Shen State University of New York - USA
  • Professor Elaine Sherman Hofstra University - USA
  • Associate Professor Jeremy J. Sierra Texas State University - San Marcos - USA
  • Professor Marianna Sigala University of Newcastle - Australia
  • Associate Professor Cláudia Simões University of Minho - Portugal
  • Dr Erose Sthapit Manchester Metropolitan University - UK
  • Associate Professor Jeff W Totten McNeese State University - USA
  • Associate Professor Sven Tuzovic Queensland University of Technology - Australia
  • Professor Giampaolo Viglia Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
  • Professor Paul Williams American University of Sharjah - United Arab Emirates
  • Prof Dr Heidi Winklhofer Nottingham University Business School - UK
  • Professor Lars Witell Linköping University - Sweden
  • Professor Ip Kin Anthony Wong University of Macau - China
  • Professor Dana Yagil University of Haifa - Israel
  • Dr Nadia Zainuddin University of Wollongong - USA
  • Associate Professor Zhen Zhu Suffolk University - USA
  • Professor Judy Zolkiewski Alliance Manchester Business School - UK
  • Associate Professor Catharina von Koskull Hanken School of Economics - Finland

Expert Research Panel for Service Operations

  • Professor Joy Field Boston College, USA - USA
  • Liana Victorina University of Victoria, Canada

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Calls for papers

Service complexities in latin american countries.

Submit your paper here! Introduction The goal of this special issue is to extend the current body of services marketing research by identifying...

Steve Baron Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Service Research Community

Thank you to the 2022 reviewers of journal of services marketing.

The publishing and editorial teams would like to thank the following, for their invaluable service as 2022 reviewers for this journal. We are very grateful for the contributions made. With their help, the journal has been able to publish such high...

JSM papers included in WHO COVID-19 database

The importance of services marketing research for improving the health and wellbeing of global citizens has been recognised by the World Health Organisation with the inclusion of the following 18 Journal of Services Marketing articles ...

Emerald: 1st ServCollab Special Issue Free Access

Founded in 2018 by Ray Fisk, ...

Thank you to the 2021 Reviewers of Journal of Services Marketing

The publishing and editorial teams would like to thank the following, for their invaluable service as 2021 reviewers for this journal. We are very grateful for the contributions made. With their help, the journal has been able to publish such high...

Previous award winners of the Steve Baron Award

Steve’s perspective on contribution to the service community. I believe that contributions to the service research community do go beyond what is immediately visible, such as research publications and teaching innovation...

Revisiting seminal JSM articles in the first decade: The retrospective collection 1986 - 1995

In 2016, JSM celebrated 30 years, and to commemorate this milestone the editors Prof Steve Baron and Prof Rebekah Russell-Bennett wrote an editorial about the importance of revisiting the past, and invited authors of seminal pap...

JSM Editorials

2022 Editorial: Research priorities in the new service marketplace...

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A journal cannot exist without the selfless service of colleagues who are willing to provide their time and expertise to encourage quality research to be submitted and peer reviewed.  Since the establishment of the journal in 1986, the follow...

JSM KeyWords 2019

The Editorial Team of JSM would like to encourage you to select from the keywords below, when submitting a manuscript to ScholarOne: Airline industry artificial intelligence Atmospherics Baby Boomers Base of the...

Literati awards

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Journal of Services Marketing - Literati Award Winners 2023

We are pleased to announce our 2023 Literati Award winners.   Outstanding Paper A voice for the silent: un...

research articles on service marketing

Journal of Services Marketing - Literati Award Winners 2022 

We are pleased to announce our 2022 Literati Award winners. Outstanding Paper Shaping service delivery throu...

Journal of Services Marketing - Literati Award Winners 2022

We are pleased to announce our 2022 Literati Award winners. Outstanding Paper ...

research articles on service marketing

Journal of Services Marketing - Literati Award Winners 2021

We are pleased to announce our 2021 Literati Award winners. Outstanding Paper Artificial intelligence: disru...

research articles on service marketing

Journal of Services Marketing - Literati Award Winners 2020

We are pleased to announce our 2020 Literati Award winners. Outstanding Paper Value of social robots in services: social cognition p...

Journal of Services Marketing addresses a range of services-related issues of interest to marketing scholars and relevant to marketing professionals who represent a broad range of service industries.

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Aims and scope

The Journal of Services Marketing ( JSM ) is not preferentially disposed towards either empirical work or pure theory, nor towards one particular method or approach. JSM will be an outlet for research that is:

  • unique and interesting research on services marketing in a contemporary global world
  • from a diverse range of methodological, philosophical and theoretical approaches
  • situated within either a pure or applied research tradition
  • well-grounded theoretical conceptualisation
  • rigorous and appropriate research methodology
  • well written and of clear relevance and interest to services marketing scholarship and practice.

JSM is keen to publish manuscripts that address contemporary issues relevant to services marketing that make a clear contribution to services marketing scholarship and practice.

Topics currently of interest to the editors are:

  • The role of services in transforming society and consumer lives
  • New methodological approaches for service research
  • Services marketing and the bottom-of-the pyramid
  • The role of new technologies and interactivity
  • Off-shoring and outsourcing of services
  • Servitization
  • Service design
  • Co-creation and third-parties
  • Crowd-sourcing
  • The future and key trends in the practice of services marketing: what researchers need to know
  • Micro-businesses, cottage industries and the service sector
  • Social service enterprises
  • Viewing service(s) through a new lens.

Latest articles

These are the latest articles published in this journal (Last updated: May 2024 )

Service resilience in an increasingly ambiguous, dynamic and complex world - absorb, adapt and transform

How can service organizations build resilience by leveraging capabilities and service worker team knowledge, mindfulness, resilience and the happiness of service employees working from home., top downloaded articles.

These are the most downloaded articles over the last 12 months for this journal (Last updated: May 2024 )

How strategic design abilities address unmet value in service engagement strategies

Customer engagement behaviors on physical and virtual engagement platforms, how do influencers' characteristics affect followers' stickiness and well-being in the social media context.

These are the top cited articles for this journal, from the last 12 months according to Crossref (Last updated: May 2024 )

The interplay between physical and social servicescape: investigating negative CCI

Business types matter: new insights into the effects of anthropomorphic cues in ai chatbots, editorial: investigating the effect of the physical context on customer experience.

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Service marketing in online shopping platform: psychological and behavioral dimensions.

A correction has been applied to this article in:

Corrigendum: Service Marketing in Online Shopping Platform: Psychological and Behavioral Dimensions

  • Read correction

\nYong Wang

  • 1 Business School, Huaiyin Institute of Technology, Huai'an, China
  • 2 Doctoral Program, I-Shou University, Taiwan, China
  • 3 Management School, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • 4 North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China
  • 5 Department of Business Administration, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • 6 Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-Contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • 7 Super Micro Mass Research and Technology Center, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

This conceptual analysis critically discusses how service marketing is workable for online shopping platforms and how important service-related and influenced factors played their roles the aforementioned issue. The concepts of service, service marketing, and related factors were re-visited, or at least reflected, in the new context of online platforms. Mostly, we framed the essence and importance of those discussed factors from the psychological and behavioral angles. Implications for theory, practices, and policy-making were offered seriously.


Recent years have witnessed the huge interests in the trending research on service marketing ( Rust and Huang, 2014 ). The researchers have highlighted that service is one of the most important section of marketing that could be felt by consumers before the consumption, and thus could influence the purchase decision directly ( Rust and Huang, 2014 ). With the development of service marketing, this concept has been extended from physical to virtual marketplace in various forms ( Schultz et al., 2013 ). When people reach nearly all the shopping platforms, the concept of “service” goes beyond the traditional understanding and increasingly covers other new conceptual elements ( Shareef et al., 2016 ; Al-kumaim et al., 2021 ).

Nevertheless, with the development of online shopping, it is increasingly difficult to evaluate which high-quality standards online shopping platforms should have. Such unclear standards caused interest of researcher, to systematically examine how service marketing could be applied in the online shopping platforms to contribute to platform performance. Doing so, a conceptual analysis provided by this paper can contribute in three ways. First, we could explicate the erratic and fuzzy standards to judge the effectiveness of service in online platform contexts, which help improve the comprehensiveness and conceptualization for further (qualitative and quantitative) studies. Second, for practitioners of online shopping, the review and analytical arguments of this study could provide theoretical support about how to develop the quality service mechanisms (procedures, rules, references, etc.). Third, for policymakers, a clearer description about the standards of service marketing in online shopping platforms can facilitate reasonable policies formation to deal with both the civil and commercial disputes related to the services of online shopping platforms.

Service marketing has become one of main subfields of marketing. The value of service marketing lies in the expectations and reactions of consumers ( Fan and Dong, 2021 ). The services may be offered directly or indirectly to the consumers in business to consumer (B2C) or business to businesses (B2B) ( Rust and Huang, 2014 ). With increasing popularity, the online shopping platforms have shown their potentials to replace the traditional shopping mechanisms. Generally, the traditional marketing mix is also working in the online shopping platforms, for which the consumers are still influenced by 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) even if the effects of “place” has been weakened to some extents ( Rust and Huang, 2014 ). Namely, the traditional 4Ps are still able to be extended by service marketing in the online platforms. However, as an invisible form of marketing, it is more difficult to be managed when it is applied on a virtual network platform. Customer service is crucial for online shopping platforms that demands high level of customer loyalty based on customer perceptions of the platform's service quality.

Unfortunately, there is still a lack of commonly accepted answer about what standards could be used for online platforms. Due to such vagueness, various online shopping platforms are unable to create their own high-quality service marketing clearly and effectively. Even if their service quality is improving, with deep understanding of service, the cost of these attempts is not only capital investment but also the patience and evaluation of the consumers ( Chang et al., 2016 ).

Against such background, this article tends to reference related literature to conduct an integrative conceptual analysis for the issues mentioned above.

The Conceptual Analysis

Most of the extant studies direct to a common goal of explaining why online shopping platforms should improve service. In the earlier research, the importance of service and service marketing did not receive enough attention, for some studies even believed that the online shopping did not incorporate service concepts. However, with development of service, this claim has been overturned by further studies who claimed that the service quality could increase the retention rate of consumers. In addition, the studies form Hsieh and Tsao (2014) also stressed that the high-quality service of online shopping platform would reduce the perceived risk of consumers and further increase the consumer loyalty.

After that, the researcher discussed the factors which could influence the service marketing in online shopping platforms to find out the method to improve service quality. Afterward, claimed customer commitment would also influence the consumer perception of services of online shopping (Singh and Pandy, 2016), which has been proved by other studies. Finally, for consumers, the perceived services would also be different according to the different values ( Blasco-Arcas et al., 2014 ; Chang et al., 2016 ).

Finally, the researcher collected related opinions about how online shopping platforms could improve the service quality. In some studies, it was mentioned that the consumer satisfaction of service quality is highly depended on the ease of use of website pages rather than the personalization. Moreover, with the development of online shopping portals, the uses of shopping platforms are not only limited for purchasing but also used as communication channels at present. Therefore, Lazarus et al. (2014) put forward that online shopping platforms, especially for some platforms that highly rely on the mobile channels, some factors should be given priority to the consideration, such as convenience, security, and emotional values. The last but not the least, Chang et al. (2016) and Zheng et al. (2017) found out that the coupon proneness and value consciousness play important roles in explaining the e-loyalty.

Service Marketing

In the existing studies, the importance of service marketing has been accepted widely by scholars and practitioners.

With the forming of unique concept of service, service marketing has become an important subject of marketing. According to Haynes and Grugulis (2014) , the service is believed to include four main characteristics, such as involving intangibility, inseparability, perishability, and variability, which is a commonly accepted opinion. First, service is a concept that lacks physical form, which means that service does not interact with consumers through any conventional senses. The value of service is created by the consumption or experience, as its ownership could not be transferred, so that the quality of service is unable to be evaluated before purchasing. Inseparability simply means that the production and consumption are inseparable, so that the service marketing is also influenced by this characteristic that the process of service marketing is highly contacted and labor-intensive. Through the impact of inseparability, the companies that focus on the service marketing are easier to be influenced by the capital for labor and human error. Moreover, service is ephemeral and unable to be stored. In other words, the supply of service could not have buffer between the supply and demand, because all supply should be provided timely. The last characteristic of service is the variability, also known as heterogeneity, which states that the services are inherently variable in quality and substance. Namely, service quality is difficult to manage and there are fewer opportunities to standardize the service marketing delivery. According to the abovementioned characteristics, the unique characteristics of services give rise to the problems and challenges of service marketing that are rarely paralleled in product marketing. These challenges and problems would be further discussed as follow.

The Classification of Service

In current theories, the framework of service marketing has been controversial according to various standards to distinguish different types of services. The first classification is related to who or what is being processed, involving people processing, mental stimulus processing, possession processing, and information processing ( Lazarus et al., 2014 ). This type of classification mainly relates to the sources of core value generated with service. In addition, there is another method to classify service marketing according to the degree of customer interaction, involving high low contact services ( Yahyaoui et al., 2015 ).

However, the quality of services is difficult to judge before purchasing ( Yahyaoui et al., 2015 ), so that economists believe that nearly all of service marketing could be classified with a processual framework of “Search → Experience → Credence (SEC)” ( Girard and Dion, 2010 ). According to this framework, most products fall into the search goods category, those which possess attributes that can be evaluated prior to purchase or consumption. Experience goods mean products or services that can be accurately evaluated only after the product has been purchased and experienced, which could be seen as another side of search products. It is different to the above two classifications, credence claims are the goods that are difficult or impossible to evaluate even after consumption has occurred ( Girard and Dion, 2010 ). These goods are called credence products because the quality evaluations of the consumers depend entirely on the trust given to the product manufacturer or service provider ( Girard and Dion, 2010 ). According to these different classifications, the forms of service marketing operated in online shopping platforms are also different, so that the content of this section would be used in further discussion below.

Service and Service Marketing in Online Shopping Platforms

Due to the virtuality of online shopping platform, the importance of service and service marketing did not pay enough attention, to which some earlier research even believed that the online shopping did not have the concept of service. Service goes with different face in physical vs. online world. In a previous study, the researchers claimed that the online shopping is a new concept that could subvert over the position of traditional shopping and get rid of the limitation of services provided by humans. Some researchers also put forward a similar opinion that the online shopping based on machinery and procedures did not have the ability to exchange emotion with consumers, so that consumers would not have demands and expectation emotionally, which could create a fair competitive channel because the consumer would only focus on the quality of products (see also Wei, 2021 ). This claim seems reasonable according to the background of era, but it has been denied at present. In the further analytical study, they found out the optimal service level on the “fulfillment and responsiveness” function for the risk averse uniquely exists. Customer loyalty is more positively correlated to the service level, which could cause the largest optimal service level. Moreover, the business organizations do not have to worry about the increase of cost on service-construction would reduce profits, because it was found out that the optimal service level is independent of the profit target, which states that the profits of organizations would not be reduced by the improvement of service. In other words, if the organization could achieve nearly optimal service level, no matter how organizations create its targets, the service quality would only increase the retention rate of consumers.

Based on the above discussion, in nature, physical vs. online service marketing differ in the following ways. First, the medium of service marketing delivery is different (e.g., Majeed et al., 2020 ). While service marketing delivery can be done through touchable medium, which can be stored, transferred, and removed in physical ways, and online service marketing can only be passed via a virtual medium, which has higher level of dangers to be easily copied or removed. The different medium of service marketing delivery also affects the ways the stakeholders interact via the marketing medium ( Méndez-Aparicio et al., 2017 ). Also, the customers experience differently ( Wong et al., 2018 ). Second, the physical and online service marketing differ in the scope and speed of marketing outcomes. The range of influences can be broader by online service marketing, and for online service marketing the marketers could see the results of their strategies faster. Third, also due to the aforementioned difference in scope and speed, the online service marketing relatively relies on the technological advantages, such as artificial intelligence and big data, which offer more instant feedback for service marketing modification during the marketing contacts. The need for precision is higher in online service marketing as compared with the physical service marketing.

The Perceived Risk Determines Online Loyalty

As mentioned above, the service quality is more related to the consumer perception than profit target, but it also means that the service of online shopping highly relates to every factor that could be perceived by the consumers, such as risks. The study of Hsieh and Tsao (2014) is highly representative among all the studies discussed about perceived risks, in which they analyzed the role of perceived risk within the services of online shopping platform in-depth. To discuss the reason why it is necessary to mention perceived risk, Lazarus et al. (2014) provided a statement that perceived risk has a significant negative effect on online loyalty, which states low perceived risk means higher online consumer loyalty. In the study of Hsieh and Tsao (2014) , they mentioned that system quality and information quality do not have significant negative effects on the perceived risk, which seems an opposite opinion with Lazarus et al. (2014) . However, Lazarus et al. (2014) only claimed that the security should have a priority to consideration, but they did not mention it would influence the perceived risk. Therefore, the study of Hsieh and Tsao (2014) is a supplementary explanation of Lazarus et al. (2014) . Moreover, Hsieh and Tsao (2014) found out that e-service quality has a significant negative effect on perceived risk, which means high-quality service of online shopping platform would reduce the perceived risk of consumers. Managerially, this paper offered a conceptual foundation for service marketing tactics for online platform.

The Consumer Loyalty Equal to Success

It is clear that the studies of Hsieh and Tsao (2014) mentioned that the service is related to the consumer loyalty, but they did not further explain how important consumer loyalty is in the operation of organizations. In fact, it has been mentioned by other researchers that the importance of consumer loyalty directly influenced the success of companies in long-term. The consumer loyalty, or called as customer retention, plays an irreplaceable role in the operation of online shopping platforms, but the situation is that only a few of managers could really understand its significances. First of all, the direct influence of consumer loyalty is to increase the repurchase intention that the high evaluation of online services or high consumer loyalty could largely increase the possibility of repurchasing. According to the results of model based on the Information Systems (IS) use theory and social exchange theory, it was found that the shopping habit increases the influence of emotional evaluation on continuance, while habit weakens the impact of rational evaluation on continuance intention. Some researchers similarly conclude that trust and perceived benefits are the key predictors of the consumer attitudes toward online shopping, as 28% of the variation in online shopping attitudes was caused by the perceived benefits and trust. In other words, a higher brand loyalty or repurchase rate could reduce the impacts of rational evaluation, and further increase fault tolerance in competition and the rate of success.

Therefore, according to some research, the service quality will increase the retention rate of consumers directly, which is independent of the profit target. In addition to the high-quality services, the perceived risk of consumers played the important role when organizations intend to increase consumer loyalty, and consumer loyalty directly influenced the success of companies in long-term.

The Factors to Determine the Quality of Service in the Online Shopping Platforms

Personal privacy.

According to the existing studies, most of the researchers believe safety to be one of the most important factors that would influence the consumer perception of services. As a virtual trading platform, online shopping platforms are more prone to the security issues, which directly influence the service quality of platforms. In a previous study, it was mentioned that perceived Web security and personal privacy concerns can influence the consumer acceptance of online shopping. This opinion was accepted by some researchers in their study which claimed that the users form perceptions of security control that strongly determine how much trust they put in online services. However, security control is a difficult measure to observe the credence quality of online services that Internet users cannot easily assess through the research or experience. Moreover, in addition to qualitative analyses, the importance of safety is also supported by some quantitative data. For example, a survey was created and 120 questionnaires were distributed among the students and the general public. The results showed that people already shopping online prefer to purchase online in future, because of the most important privacy factors. Therefore, according to the current studies, the personal privacy is one of most influential factors to influence the consumer perception of service marketing in online platforms.

Commitment for Customers

In addition to safety, some studies claimed customer commitment would influence the consumer perception of services of online shopping. It was found out that different attitudes of consumers toward online shopping shows that they would still prefer the traditional shopping pattern because of various traits related to promises, such as value, trust, and comfortable. At the same time, the key antecedents and consequences of marketing in online retailing highly rely on four mediators, involving trust, commitment, relationship quality, and relationship satisfaction. A novel multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) approach is used to solve the decision of service quality for shopping platform services. They also claimed that similarity and seller expertise were found to have the strongest impact on the relational mediators. Indeed, the security control perceptions of the users arise solely from their predispositions, but online service providers can influence the consumers. Thus, existing studies concluded that the commitment of supplier in online platforms would highly influence the attitude of consumers because word of mouth was the most critical outcome of relationship marketing efforts.

Values of Consumers

However, it was showed that the determinants of online shopping acceptance differ among the service types, but the previous studies have limited the generalizability of their results to a few products at best. The “fulfillment and responsiveness” function is significantly related to the customer loyalty in online shopping platforms. However, they still identified a research gap about whether the customer loyalty would be influenced by the individual values. In the research of Chang et al. (2016) , the researchers intended to discuss this research gap, and researchers used 866 samples to explore the relationships among the intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, flow, cognitive attitudes, perceived satisfaction, and purchase intention of online shopping of the consumers from a cognitive attitude perspective. The results indicated that hedonic value, utilitarian value, security, and privacy significantly affected the cognitive attitudes (i.e., cognitive trust and perceived risk). The results of Shu-Hao Chang et al. (2016) initially proved that the individual values of consumers would influence the effects of consumer loyalty, which the perceived services would also be different according to different values. Blasco-Arcas et al. (2014) claimed that the online cues related to customer to customer (C2C) interactions and coproduction in the engagement platform determine the customer co-creation experiences ( Razmus, 2021 ; Siddique et al., 2021 ). For example, if the customers perceive that they are co-creating the experience, their purchase intentions increase ( Razmus, 2021 ; Siddique et al., 2021 ).

Thus, for the discussion about what factors would affect the service in online shopping platforms, some most important factors have been found out by existing study, such as personal privacy, commitment for customers, and values of consumers. Compared with the other factors, the personal privacy is the most influential factors to influence the consumer perception of service marketing in online platforms. In addition, the role of commitment of supplier in online platforms is that it highly influences the attitude of consumers, because word of mouth is the most critical outcome of relationship marketing efforts. Finally, even if the values of consumers are less influenced by online platforms, individual values are still able to influence the effects of consumer loyalty, due to different perceived standards.

Online Platform Service Quality Improvement

The ease of use.

As discussed before, there were three main factors that would highly influence the consumer perception of service in online shopping platforms. Thus, in this section, researcher intends to analyse how service marketing could be applied in online shopping platforms. In fact, this is not a new topic in academia; a research model was developed to examine the relationship among the service quality dimensions and overall service quality, customer satisfaction, and purchase intentions. The result seems outdated at present due to fast development of online shopping in past 10 years, but it still explained how early scholars understood service marketing of online shopping platforms. In this study, the researcher collected data from a survey of 297 online consumers to test the research model. The analytical results showed that the dimensions of website design, reliability, responsiveness, and trust affect overall service quality and customer satisfaction. Moreover, service quality is significantly related to the customer purchase intentions. However, the personalization dimension is not significantly related to overall service quality and customer satisfaction. In other words, in earlier period, the consumer satisfaction of service quality is highly depended on the ease of use of website pages rather than the personalization.

The Security of Shopping

With the development of online shopping, the uses of shopping platforms are not only limited to the purchasing but also as communication channels at present. Therefore, the uses of online shopping platforms have been classified into social networking rather than pure functional websites. As a result, Lazarus et al. (2014) used to mentioned that the interaction-centric capabilities for engaging consumers are the basis of “co-creation capabilities” of a firm. These capabilities can be used as the strategic tools to develop competitive advantage for service firms under service-dominant logic. Past literature has indicated that the consumption value is an important factor in consumer decision-making on whether to adopt online shopping. However, the previous studies of the indirect effects of personal characteristics on the adoption of online shopping have emphasized solely the importance of utilitarian values, but none have investigated the indirect effects of consumption values that include both utilitarian and hedonic aspects. As a result, in this research, the researchers discussed how online shopping platforms could use the consumption values and personal characteristics to carry out high-quality services. The results showed that online shopping platforms, especially for some platforms that highly rely on mobile channels, some factors should be given priority to consideration, such as convenience, security, and emotional values.

The Role of Promotion

As a type of shopping method, the promotion could play a positive role to increase the consumer satisfaction. Moreover, in the later research from Chang et al. (2016) , 866 samples were collected and analyzed using the structural equation modeling for validation of the proposed model. They found out that the cognitive attitudes significantly affected the perceived satisfaction and purchase intention, respectively. Flow significantly and positively influenced the cognitive trust and purchase intentions, respectively. The cognitive trust is the mediators between motivations and perceived satisfaction/purchase intention. For how could improve the perceived satisfaction and purchase intention, in addition to the traditional or mentioned methods, Zheng et al. (2017) used a sample of 537 users of an online shopping platform to advance the theoretical understanding of e-loyalty by exploring the roles of coupon proneness and value consciousness in the context of online shopping platforms. They found out that coupon proneness and value consciousness play important roles in explaining the e-loyalty.

In other words, the quality of service operation on online platforms is highly depended on the ease of use of website pages rather than the personalization. However, with the development of technology, the demands of security are also increased in the past few years.


This research aimed to discuss the role of service marketing in online shopping platforms and in-depth discuss the importance of service marketing in the marketing of online shopping platforms. However, even if the concept of “service” has had a clear definition, it is still a visible product that its value only depends on the gap between the consumer expectation and real experience. Moreover, as one of subfields of marketing, service marketing and product marketing are always combined in the marketing strategies, so that the discussion of service marketing in online platforms cannot be fully independent of the influence of product marketing. Thus, another disadvantage of this type of studies is that the performance of service marketing is highly influenced by the products, as there are different products that are sold on online shopping platforms. In other words, invisibility of service marketing and dependency with product marketing caused the research aim difficult to be achieved.

In the current study, the importance of services for online shopping platforms has been discussed in-depth, in which the researchers not only analyzed how service influence the success of organizations but also what method could be used by these organizations. Service marketing, as one of main subfields of marketing, is more difficult to be managed when it is applied on a virtual network platform. However, with the development of service, this concept has been paid more attention than before at present, so business organizations need to put enough attention on the improvement of service quality.

Theoretical Implications

First, as an academic literature review, this paper reviewed numerous representative studies in past 15 years, so that this paper could give other researcher a guide of future projects. In addition, service marketing is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, as most of the marketing scholars are interested in this field. Therefore, the topic area of this study is a hot topic that would not be outdated in a short time.

Even if this paper conceptually analyzed the extant literature systematically, there are still some possibilities for the future studies. These research gaps are divided into the guesses that have not been proved and the questions put forward by the current study. The first opportunity is related to the questions mentioned left by earlier studies. Previous studies mentioned that online shopping based on machinery and procedures did not have the ability to exchange emotion with consumers; however, it was found if an organization could achieve nearly optimal service level, the service quality would only increase the retention rate of consumers. However, the previous studies did not explain the optimal service level or provide the framework to test the optimal service level. Even if a researcher has found some factors that could influence the service quality, it is still unable to answer this question. Thus, the first opportunity is to know how online shopping platform could create the optimal service level or how these organizations divide into different levels.

Second, as early as 2005, Guang and Fen have found that the consumer satisfaction of service quality is highly dependent on the ease of use of website pages rather than the personalization. Even in 2015, Assarut and Eiamkanchanalai mentioned that online shopping platforms should provide priority to consider some factors, such as convenience. Both these studies did not discuss the role of personalization, but some research (e.g., Koch and Benlian, 2015 ; Zobov et al., 2016 ; Oberoi et al., 2017 ) claimed personalization has become increasingly important at present, so the second opportunity is to prove whether personalization has become more important than some factors, especially in the current era.

Third, the most important contribution of this study is that it provided experiences about long-term and voluminous literature review, laid the foundation of future research. Moreover, the topic of this project is about service marketing and online shopping platform, created a systemic review about the concepts about these fields in-depth.

Fourth, the current conceptual analysis discussed the psychological and behavioral aspects of the important issues separately. Future studies are encouraged to discuss, or empirically examine, the issues that are at the intersection of the two major perspectives. As individual psychology and behaviors could be mutually influential, more interesting phenomena and issues of service marketing in online shopping context might be explored by integrating the two perspectives.

Fifth, future research should take the role played by culture into account when investigating the service marketing in online shopping context. Here, culture not only refers to that in physical settings (societal, social, organizational, etc.) but also that embedded in virtual and neuro-psychological worlds. In the age of internet and more modernized technologies, the way culture forms and functions are very different from that in traditional business settings. Whether in physical or virtual settings, however, one thing stays for sure is that culture could affect the human cognition, interactions, decisions, and actions. But in the virtual world, culture becomes more difficult to capture and measure. So, it would be quiet challenging but contributively if scholars of online service marketing could bring the updated concept of culture into related studies.

Last, the performance of service marketing is highly influenced by the products as different products are sold on platforms. In other words, the invisibility of service marketing and dependency with product marketing caused the research aim difficult to be achieved.

Practical Implications

For related practitioners of online shopping, the results of this study could provide theoretical support about how to develop quality of service and how to increase the effectiveness of service marketing. The literatures reviewed in this paper involved the influential factors, operating method of service marketing, impacts of service marketing on consumers, and the methods of improvement, which intended to help online platforms to find out a method to create high-quality service. However, even if the concept of “service” has had a clear definition, it is still a visible product that its value only depends on the gap between the consumer expectation and real perception. This paper explained the related concepts of service in details, which could help practitioners to further understand the service and its importance. Moreover, with the development of technology, the online shopping is able to replace more and more functions of real stores, to become mainstream shopping method in the future. In addition, the findings of this research could contribute in changing online shopping platform to be more humane and more advanced, which could even change the current business philosophy of these platforms to pay more attention on service marketing.

Policy Implications

For policymakers, a clearer analysis of service marketing standards in online shopping platform context contributes to policy regulations for online shopping platforms' service-related disputes. Service marketing, as one of main subfields of marketing, is more difficult to be managed when it is applied on a virtual network platform. Thus, it is easier to have disputes between online retailers and consumers, due to service problems and lack of related laws to regulate the market. However, this paper provides a clear description about how consumers require the service quality of online shopping, so it helps the current market to establish the market standards.

Concluding Remarks

With the development of service marketing, this concept has not been limited only on real places, which it has be extended to online communication and been reflected by various forms. However, with the development of online shopping, it is increasingly difficult to evaluate what standards high-quality online shopping platforms should have. In this conceptual analysis, we discussed how service marketing is working in online shopping platforms and in-depth discuss how important role service has played in the marketing of online shopping platforms. In addition, in the review of relevant literatures, we created a logic comparison among the different opinions, through discussion of the findings of current studies.

Author Contributions

All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.

This work was supported by Social Science Fund of Jiangsu Province, China (Project No. 18GLB007).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


F-ST acknowledges a distinguished visiting professorship from the North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China.

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Keywords: service marketing, online shopping, platform, psychological antecedents, behavioral antecedents

Citation: Wang Y, Qi M, Parsons L and Tsai F-S (2021) Service Marketing in Online Shopping Platform: Psychological and Behavioral Dimensions. Front. Psychol. 12:759445. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.759445

Received: 16 August 2021; Accepted: 15 September 2021; Published: 21 October 2021.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2021 Wang, Qi, Parsons and Tsai. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Yong Wang, ; Fu-Sheng Tsai,

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, editorial: interdisciplinary research in services marketing.

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN : 0887-6045

Article publication date: 9 February 2023

Issue publication date: 14 February 2023

This paper aims to highlight the importance of interdisciplinary services marketing research and identify basic prerequisites for inter-disciplinary work in the field of services marketing, and to offer directions to services marketing scholars regarding future interdisciplinary research work.


Building on the available literature, the authors argue for the importance of interdisciplinary research in services marketing. The authors also develop a framework featuring “the key challenges impeding interdisciplinarity”, which need to be addressed to shift the services marketing field towards more sensible interdisciplinarity. Further, based on literature synthesis from different disciplines, they provide a framework with “four future research avenues for interdisciplinary research in services marketing”.

The authors identify five challenges that can likely impede services marketing research from progressing into true interdisciplinary work: limited cross-pollination, limited paradoxical thinking, limited conceptual development, limited cross-disciplinary collaboration and “inside–out” focus. The authors also propose four future research avenues to drive interdisciplinary research in the services marketing field: integration of services marketing and information management; linguistic perspectives in services marketing research; the interface between services marketing and medicine; and consumer personality and values in services marketing.


The authors propose two novel frameworks. The first concerns the key challenges of interdisciplinarity in services marketing research and the second provides avenues to drive future interdisciplinary services marketing research.

  • Services marketing
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Service strategy

Christofi, M. , Kvasova, O. and Hadjielias, E. (2023), "Editorial: Interdisciplinary research in services marketing", Journal of Services Marketing , Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 1-11.

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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Service(s) Marketing Research: Developments and Directions

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research articles on service marketing

  • Manfred Bruhn 1 ,
  • Matthias Mayer-Vorfelder 1 &
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Against the background of the rising importance of services in research and practice, this study systematically examines service-related publications over the last ten years to identify a set of the most relevant topics in services research. This enquiry involves pursuing two central research objectives. The first question is directed at analyzing the recent development in theoretical research activity in this field and its scope as well as identifying recurring research topics and research methods. The second objective is to investigate the global diffusion in services research. With these objectives, the study reviews 1,840 papers on topics specific to services marketing that were published between 2000 and 2009 in the 34 most relevant marketing journals, based on the VHB JOURQUAL 1 ranking from 2003 (VHB 2003). The findings of the first question report on recent developments in services marketing research since 2000, culminating in its current status as an established discipline within marketing research. The study identifies the most frequently covered research topics (i.e., ‘service quality’ and ‘service customer’) and shows that quantitative empirical research frameworks prevail within services marketing research. Focusing on the geographic development of services marketing research, it shows that services marketing research is not yet undertaken on a truly global scale; associated with the identification of geographic areas of concentration, it furthermore reveals a correlation between an author’s and editor’s geographic location of activity.

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Bruhn, M., Mayer-Vorfelder, M. & Maier, A. Examining the recent developments in services marketing research. markt 51 , 37–48 (2012).

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The trends defining the $1.8 trillion global wellness market in 2024

From cold plunges to collagen to celery juice, the $1.8 trillion global consumer wellness market is no stranger to fads, which can sometimes surface with limited clinical research or credibility. Today, consumers are no longer simply trying out these wellness trends and hoping for the best, but rather asking, “What does the science say?”

About the authors

This article is a collaborative effort by Shaun Callaghan , Hayley Doner, Jonathan Medalsy, Anna Pione , and Warren Teichner , representing views from McKinsey’s Consumer Packaged Goods and Private Equity & Principal Investors Practices.

McKinsey’s latest Future of Wellness research—which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers across China, the United Kingdom, and the United States—examines the trends shaping the consumer wellness landscape. In this article, we pair these findings with a look at seven wellness subsets—including women’s health, weight management, and in-person fitness—that our research suggests are especially ripe areas for innovation and investment activity.

The science- and data-backed future of wellness

In the United States alone, we estimate that the wellness market has reached $480 billion, growing at 5 to 10 percent per year. Eighty-two percent of US consumers now consider wellness a top or important priority in their everyday lives, which is similar to what consumers in the United Kingdom and China report (73 percent and 87 percent, respectively).

This is especially true among Gen Z and millennial consumers, who are now purchasing more wellness products and services than older generations, across the same dimensions we outlined in our previous research : health, sleep, nutrition, fitness, appearance, and mindfulness (Exhibit 1). 1 “ Still feeling good: The US wellness market continues to boom ,” McKinsey, September 19, 2022.

Across the globe, responses to our survey questions revealed a common theme about consumer expectations: consumers want effective, data-driven, science-backed health and wellness solutions (Exhibit 2).

Five trends shaping the consumer health and wellness space in 2024

Fifty-eight percent of US respondents to our survey said they are prioritizing wellness more now than they did a year ago. The following five trends encompass their newly emerging priorities, as well as those that are consistent with our earlier research.

A small stack of COVID-19 rabid antigen tests on a pink background.

Trend one: Health at home

The COVID-19 pandemic made at-home testing kits a household item. As the pandemic has moved into its endemic phase, consumers are expressing greater interest in other kinds of at-home kits: 26 percent of US consumers are interested in testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies at home, 24 percent for cold and flu symptoms, and 23 percent for cholesterol levels.

At-home diagnostic tests are appealing to consumers because they offer greater convenience than going to a doctor’s office, quick results, and the ability to test frequently. In China, 35 percent of consumers reported that they had even replaced some in-person healthcare appointments with at-home diagnostic tests—a higher share than in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Although there is growing interest in the space, some consumers express hesitancy. In the United States and the United Kingdom, top barriers to adoption include the preference to see a doctor in person, a perceived lack of need, and price; in China, test accuracy is a concern for approximately 30 percent of consumers.

Implications for companies: Companies can address three critical considerations to help ensure success in this category. First, companies will want to determine the right price value equation for at-home diagnostic kits since cost still presents a major barrier for many consumers today. Second, companies should consider creating consumer feedback loops, encouraging users to take action based on their test results and then test again to assess the impact of those interventions. Third, companies that help consumers understand their test results—either through the use of generative AI to help analyze and deliver personalized results, or through integration with telehealth services—could develop a competitive advantage.

Trend two: A new era for biomonitoring and wearables

Roughly half of all consumers we surveyed have purchased a fitness wearable at some point in time. While wearable devices such as watches have been popular for years, new modalities powered by breakthrough technologies have ushered in a new era for biomonitoring and wearable devices.

Wearable biometric rings, for example, are now equipped with sensors that provide consumers with insights about their sleep quality through paired mobile apps. Continuous glucose monitors, which can be applied to the back of the user’s arm, provide insights about the user’s blood sugar levels, which may then be interpreted by a nutritionist who can offer personalized health guidance.

Roughly one-third of surveyed wearable users said they use their devices more often than they did last year, and more than 75 percent of all surveyed consumers indicated an openness to using a wearable in the future. We expect the use of wearable devices to continue to grow, particularly as companies track a wider range of health indicators.

Implications for companies: While there is a range of effective wearable solutions on the market today for fitness and sleep, there are fewer for nutrition, weight management, and mindfulness, presenting an opportunity for companies to fill these gaps.

Wearables makers and health product and services providers in areas such as nutrition, fitness, and sleep can explore partnerships that try to make the data collected through wearable devices actionable, which could drive greater behavioral change among consumers. One example: a consumer interested in managing stress levels might wear a device that tracks spikes in cortisol. Companies could then use this data to make personalized recommendations for products related to wellness, fitness, and mindfulness exercises.

Businesses must keep data privacy and clarity of insights top of mind. Roughly 30 percent of China, UK, and US consumers are open to using a wearable device only if the data is shared exclusively with them. Additionally, requiring too much manual data input or sharing overly complicated insights could diminish the user experience. Ensuring that data collection is transparent and that insights are simple to understand and targeted to consumers’ specific health goals or risk factors will be crucial to attracting potential consumers.

Trend three: Personalization’s gen AI boost

Nearly one in five US consumers and one in three US millennials prefer personalized products and services. While the preference for personalized wellness products was lower than in years prior, we believe this is likely due to consumers becoming more selective about which personalized products and services they use.

Technological advancements and the rise of first-party data are giving personalization a new edge. Approximately 20 percent of consumers in the United Kingdom and the United States and 30 percent in China look for personalized products and services that use biometric data to provide recommendations. There is an opportunity to pair these tools with gen AI to unlock greater precision and customization. In fact, gen AI has already made its way to the wearables and app space: some wearables use gen AI to design customized workouts for users based on their fitness data.

Implications for companies: Companies that offer software-based health and wellness services to consumers are uniquely positioned to incorporate gen AI into their personalization offerings. Other businesses could explore partnerships with companies that use gen AI to create personalized wellness recommendations.

Trend four: Clinical over clean

Last year, we saw consumers begin to shift away from wellness products with clean or natural ingredients to those with clinically proven ingredients. Today, that shift is even more evident. Roughly half of UK and US consumers reported clinical effectiveness as a top purchasing factor, while only about 20 percent reported the same for natural or clean ingredients. This trend is most pronounced in categories such as over-the-counter medications and vitamins and supplements (Exhibit 3).

In China, consumers expressed roughly equal overall preference for clinical and clean products, although there were some variations between categories. They prioritized clinical efficacy for digestive medication, topical treatments, and eye care products, while they preferred natural and clean ingredients for supplements, superfoods, and personal-care products.

Implications for companies: To meet consumer demand for clinically proven products, some brands will be able to emphasize existing products in their portfolios, while other businesses may have to rethink product formulations and strategy. While wellness companies that have built a brand around clean or natural products—particularly those with a dedicated customer base—may not want to pivot away from their existing value proposition, they can seek out third-party certifications to help substantiate their claims and reach more consumers.

Companies can boost the clinical credibility of their products by using clinically tested ingredients, running third-party research studies on their products, securing recommendations from healthcare providers and scientists, and building a medical board that weighs in on product development.

Trend five: The rise of the doctor recommendation

The proliferation of influencer marketing in the consumer space has created new sources of wellness information—with varying degrees of credibility. As consumers look to avoid “healthwashing” (that is, deceptive marketing that positions a product as healthier than it really is), healthcare provider recommendations are important once again.

Doctor recommendations are the third-highest-ranked source of influence on consumer health and wellness purchase decisions in the United States (Exhibit 4). Consumers said they are most influenced by doctors’ recommendations when seeking care related to mindfulness, sleep, and overall health (which includes the use of vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and personal- and home-care products).

Implications for companies: Brands need to consider which messages and which messengers are most likely to resonate with their consumers. We have found that a company selling products related to mindfulness may want to use predominately doctor recommendations and social media advertising, whereas a company selling fitness products may want to leverage recommendations from friends and family, as well as endorsements from personal trainers.

Seven areas of growth in the wellness space

Building upon last year’s research, several pockets of growth in the wellness space are emerging. Increasing consumer interest, technological breakthroughs, product innovation, and an increase in chronic illnesses have catalyzed growth in these areas.

Women’s health

Historically, women’s health has been underserved and underfunded . Today, purchases of women’s health products are on the rise across a range of care needs (Exhibit 5). While the highest percentage of respondents said they purchased menstrual-care and sexual-health products, consumers said they spent the most on menopause and pregnancy-related products in the past year.

Digital tools are also becoming more prevalent in the women’s health landscape. For example, wearable devices can track a user’s physiological signals to identify peak fertility windows.

Despite recent growth in the women’s health space, there is still unmet demand for products and services. Menopause has been a particularly overlooked segment of the market: only 5 percent of FemTech  start-ups address menopause needs. 2 Christine Hall, “Why more startups and VCs are finally pursuing the menopause market: ‘$600B is not “niche,”’” Crunchbase, January 21, 2021.   Consumers also continue to engage with offerings across the women’s health space, including menstrual and intimate care, fertility support, pregnancy and motherhood products, and women-focused healthcare centers, presenting opportunities for companies to expand products and services in these areas.

Healthy aging

Demand for products and services that support healthy aging and longevity is on the rise, propelled by a shift toward preventive medicine, the growth of health technology (such as telemedicine and digital-health monitoring), and advances in research on antiaging products.

Roughly 70 percent of consumers in the United Kingdom and the United States and 85 percent in China indicated that they have purchased more in this category in the past year than in prior years.

More than 60 percent of consumers surveyed considered it “very” or “extremely” important to purchase products or services that help with healthy aging and longevity. Roughly 70 percent of consumers in the United Kingdom and the United States and 85 percent in China indicated that they have purchased more in this category in the past year than in prior years. These results were similar across age groups, suggesting that the push toward healthy aging is spurred both by younger generations seeking preventive solutions and older generations seeking to improve their longevity. As populations across developed economies continue to age (one in six people in the world will be aged 60 or older by 2030 3 “Ageing and health,” World Health Organization, October 1, 2022. ), we expect there to be an even greater focus globally on healthy aging.

To succeed in this market, companies can take a holistic approach to healthy-aging solutions , which includes considerations about mental health and social factors. Bringing products and services to market that anticipate the needs of aging consumers—instead of emphasizing the aging process to sell these products—will be particularly important. For example, a service that addresses aging in older adults might focus on one aspect of longevity, such as fitness or nutrition, rather than the process of aging itself.

Weight management

Weight management is top of mind for consumers in the United States, where nearly one in three adults struggles with obesity 4 Obesity fact sheet 508 , US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2022. ; 60 percent of US consumers in our survey said they are currently trying to lose weight.

While exercise is by far the most reported weight management intervention in our survey, more than 50 percent of US consumers considered prescription medication, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drugs, to be a “very effective” intervention. Prescription medication is perceived differently elsewhere: less than 30 percent of UK and China consumers considered weight loss drugs to be very effective.

Given the recency of the GLP-1 weight loss trend, it is too early to understand how it will affect the broader consumer health and wellness market. Companies should continue to monitor the space as further data emerges on adoption rates and impact across categories.

In-person fitness

Fitness has shifted from a casual interest to a priority for many consumers: around 50 percent of US gym-goers said that fitness is a core part of their identity (Exhibit 6). This trend is even stronger among younger consumers—56 percent of US Gen Z consumers surveyed considered fitness a “very high priority” (compared with 40 percent of overall US consumers).

In-person fitness classes and personal training are the top two areas where consumers expect to spend more on fitness. Consumers expect to maintain their spending on fitness club memberships and fitness apps.

The challenge for fitness businesses will be to retain consumers among an ever-increasing suite of choices. Offering best-in-class facilities, convenient locations and hours, and loyalty and referral programs are table stakes. Building strong communities and offering experiences such as retreats, as well as services such as nutritional coaching and personalized workout plans (potentially enabled by gen AI), can help top players evolve their value proposition and manage customer acquisition costs.

More than 80 percent of consumers in China, the United Kingdom, and the United States consider gut health to be important, and over 50 percent anticipate making it a higher priority in the next two to three years.

One-third of US consumers, one-third of UK consumers, and half of Chinese consumers said they wish there were more products in the market to support their gut health.

While probiotic supplements are the most frequently used gut health products in China and the United States, UK consumers opt for probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi, kombucha, or yogurt, as well as over-the-counter medications. About one-third of US consumers, one-third of UK consumers, and half of Chinese consumers said they wish there were more products in the market to support their gut health. At-home microbiome testing and personalized nutrition are two areas where companies can build on the growing interest in this segment.

Sexual health

The expanded cultural conversation about sexuality, improvements in sexual education, and growing support for female sexual-health challenges (such as low libido, vaginal dryness, and pain during intercourse) have all contributed to the growth in demand for sexual-health products.

Eighty-seven percent of US consumers reported having spent the same or more on sexual-health products in the past year than in the year prior, and they said they purchased personal lubricants, contraceptives, and adult toys most frequently.

While more businesses began to sell sexual-health products online during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a range of retailers—from traditional pharmacies to beauty retailers to department stores—are now adding more sexual-health brands and items to their store shelves. 5 Keerthi Vedantam, “Why more sexual wellness startups are turned on by retail,” Crunchbase, November 15, 2022.   This creates marketing and distribution opportunities for disruptor brands to reach new audiences and increase scale.

Despite consistently ranking as the second-highest health and wellness priority for consumers, sleep is also the area where consumers said they have the most unmet needs. In our previous report, 37 percent of US consumers expressed a desire for additional sleep and mindfulness products and services, such as those that address cognitive functioning, stress, and anxiety management. In the year since, little has changed. One of the major challenges in improving sleep is the sheer number of factors that can affect a good night’s sleep, including diet, exercise, caffeination, screen time, stress, and other lifestyle factors. As a result, few, if any, tech players and emerging brands in the sleep space have been able to create a compelling ecosystem to improve consumer sleep holistically. Leveraging consumer data to address specific pain points more effectively—including inducing sleep, minimizing sleep interruptions, easing wakefulness, and improving sleep quality—presents an opportunity for companies.

As consumers take more control over their health outcomes, they are looking for data-backed, accessible products and services that empower them to do so. Companies that can help consumers make sense of this data and deliver solutions that are personalized, relevant, and rooted in science will be best positioned to succeed.

Shaun Callaghan is a partner in McKinsey’s New Jersey office; Hayley Doner is a consultant in the Paris office; and Jonathan Medalsy is an associate partner in the New York office, where Anna Pione is a partner and Warren Teichner is a senior partner.

The authors wish to thank Celina Bade, Cherry Chen, Eric Falardeau, Lily Fu, Eric He, Sara Hudson, Charlotte Lucas, Maria Neely, Olga Ostromecka, Akshay Rao, Michael Rix, and Alex Sanford for their contributions to this article.

This article was edited by Alexandra Mondalek, an editor in the New York office.

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  • Small Business

How to Start a Business for Under $100

Published on July 6, 2024

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

By: Jordi Lippe-McGraw

  • Before you start a business, think about what skills you can offer and try to match them with customer demand.
  • Consider what legal structure will give your business the right foundation.
  • Use free branding tools and marketing channels to promote your business without breaking the bank.

Launching a business on a budget might sound like a tall order. But you can get the ball rolling for just $100 or less. This guide will walk you through the steps to turn your small investment into a potentially lucrative venture.

Step 1: Brainstorm and research (Cost: $0)

Key actions:.

  • Identify your skills: What can you offer that people might pay for?
  • Market research: Look for gaps in the market that match your skills.
  • Make a business plan: Outline your business idea, including goals and strategies as well as the financial implications. Map out your finances and set goals to help you stay on track.

The cost here is your time. Spend it wisely to validate your idea before moving forward.

Step 2: Establish your legal framework (Cost: $0 - $20)

Think about what type of business structure will work best for you. Two common options are LLCs or sole proprietorships. There's very little paperwork involved in setting up a sole proprietorship, but an LLC may suit your needs better. If so, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Unlike a sole proprietorship, an LLC draws a legal line between you and your business. This separation not only protects your personal assets from business liabilities, but can also offer potential tax benefits.

  • Choose a business name: Keep it simple and descriptive.
  • Business registration: Find out what you need to do to register as a sole proprietor or LLC in your state. Online services like LegalZoom don't charge anything to set up a basic LLC. However, registration fees can range from $50 to $300 depending on the state.
  • Open a business bank account: Many banks offer specialized accounts designed for small businesses, some even at no cost. These accounts can help you separate your personal and business finances more effectively, which is crucial for financial clarity and can simplify tax reporting. Check out our best checking business accounts .

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Consider these business credit cards that offer a convenient and efficient way to separate personal and business expenses, simplifying accounting and tax reporting.

Additionally, business cards can provide valuable perks such as rewards points, cashback, and expense tracking tools, enhancing financial management and the potential to help save money in the long run.

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Step 3: Branding on a budget (Cost: $20)

Your brand's first impression counts, but it doesn't have to cost much.

  • Design your logo: Use free tools like Canva to create a simple logo.
  • Set up a basic website: Use free versions of WordPress or Squarespace; consider spending around $20 per year on a domain name for a more professional presence.
  • Social media accounts: Set up free accounts on major platforms like Instagram and TikTok to promote your business.

Investing about $20 in a domain name while using free tools for other branding elements keeps costs low but increases credibility.

Step 4: Networking and marketing (Cost: $0 - $20)

Use your existing networks and free marketing channels to spread the word about your new small business .

  • Word of mouth: Ask friends and family to share your business.
  • Social media marketing: Create content that promotes your services or products.
  • Flyers and local ads: If applicable, use a small part of your budget to create basic marketing materials. This could set you back about $20 depending on how much you print. Or, consider email marketing software like MailChimp with free plans for small businesses.

Focus on free promotional methods initially. If you opt for printed materials, keep the design simple and the quantity manageable within your budget.

Business ideas under $100

If you're looking for a way to bring in some extra cash, choose a business that aligns with your skills and passions. Initial costs can be extremely low, especially for service-based businesses or online platforms that charge fees on sales rather than upfront.

Here are some business ideas that you can start with minimal investment:

  • General freelancing (e.g., virtual assistant, writing, tech support): Use platforms like Upwork to offer your services. It's free to set up a profile, with a 10% freelancer service fee on earnings.
  • Graphic design services: If you've got a good eye, use free software to start designing for small businesses. The only real cost is a fee if you want your own domain.
  • Tutoring or online courses: Share your expertise in a specific subject through platforms like Udemy or Teachable. It's free to start, though you'll pay platform fees on your sales.
  • Seller on Etsy: Turn your crafting hobby into a business. It costs $0.20 to list your first item, with additional fees upon sale.

It is more than feasible to start a business for under $100. It's a testament to your entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. Use these steps to launch your venture strategically with minimal financial risk. Focus on leveraging free resources and reinvesting your earnings for growth. Your journey from small startup to successful business is just beginning.

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Our Research Expert

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a freelance personal finance writer who has appeared in publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TODAY, and Saving for College. In addition to personal finance, Jordi has a passion for travel. She's visited all 7 continents and over 55 countries, writing for outlets such as Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler.

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