Special Issue of the Journal of Service Marketing.

Opportunities in the New Service Marketplace

Guest Editors: M.S. Rosenbaum & R. Russell-Bennett

Deadline: 30 April 2021

The service marketplace has fundamentally changed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) which has affective local, state, national and global businesses, non-profits and governments as well as human health and well-being of citizens. The Journal of Services Marketing editors seek to explore the opportunities that will arise in this new service marketplace and assist in shaping a positive way forward for the variety of stakeholders in the service ecosystem. Rather than focus on the short-term economic, social or environmental impact of the coronavirus, we seek to contemplate, and to call for empirical and descriptive investigations on the long-term, and perhaps, permanent, impact of COVID-19 on services, service delivery, organizational structures, service providers, service consumers and service systems from global perspectives.

Rather than focus on the short-term impact of COVID-19 on service industries, we encourage researchers to explore the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the service marketing discipline’s theoretical and managerial understandings of service industries. More specifically, we encourage service researchers to explore the following areas in the ‘new service marketplace,’ including (1) retailing; (2) e-commerce/digital techniques; (3) consumer preferences; including a preference for buying local; (4) consumer-place relationships; and (5) marketplace/commercial relationships.

Some possible research questions that warrant theoretical and humanistic inquiry regarding the ‘new service marketplace’ include the following topic. Our preference is for empirical work (qualitative or quantitative) rather than conceptual and multi-country studies would be particularly attractive. These topics are derived from our 2020 editorial in issue 5 (please read for further details).
– How do shoppers evaluate the threat of COVID-19 in different consumption settings, such as open-air versus enclosed shopping venues?
– How do consumers evaluate the quality of a built, service setting post-COVID? How do post-COVID consumer perspectives differ from those found in pre-COVID studies?
– How do customers judge organizational service quality post-COVID? How does this judgment differ from pre-COVID assessments?
– How does technology-use impact a consumer’s expectations of service quality in a post-COVID marketplace? How do consumers formulate service quality decisions when they use (1) organizational delivery services; (2) third-party delivery services; (3), curbside pickup, or (4), buy online, pick-up in the store options.
– What is the role of a sales associate in a post-COVID service organization? How is the sales function impacted by social distancing?
– How have consumer preferences for (a) local or (b) national products changed since COVID-19?
– Are consumer boycotts against imported Chinese products manifesting in global marketplaces?
– To what extent are (a) Chinese service providers or (b) Chinese consumers in serve settings (e.g., tourist and educational locales) confronting discriminatory behaviors from customers since COVID-19?
– To what extent has a consumer’s feelings of ‘place insideness,’ or ‘place attachment’ been impacted by COVID-19? Has a consumer’s ‘sense of place’ been affected by COVID-19?
– Has ‘place insideness’ been replaced by ‘place outsideness’ because of COVID-19?
– How have consumers who depended on commercial establishments for social interaction been impacted by the loss of open access to these establishments? Has the loss of access to commercial friendships impacted the health of consumers?
– How has the Servicescape Framework been influenced by COVID-19?
– How have consumer and employee attitudinal and behavioral responses changed since the presence of COVID-19?
– How are commercial friendships formed post-COVID? How have commercial friendships that existed pre-COVID been affected by the virus?
– How can retailers form an emotional connection to customers who use mobile applications, delivery services, and/or curbside pick-up that minimize human connections?
– How do consumers and service providers balance health concerns despite wearing facial coverings?
– A historical systematic literature review on the effect of global shocks/mega-crises on the marketplace (economic, social and environmental).

Service industries have been profoundly impacted by the coronavirus. Furthermore, many of the service discipline’s foundational theories that guide our understanding of marketplace exchange behaviors have been significantly altered by the introduction of COVID-19 into global service transactions. Service researchers are encouraged to not only investigate the research questions put forth in this paper, but also, to explore how the theoretical bedrock of services marketing has been permanently altered by COVID-19 with the emergence of a new service marketplace.

The services marketing discipline emerged in a time when customers and employees were encouraged to engage in social interaction and to form relationships, as many service encounters were deemed as social encounters. COVID-19 has impacted social relationships in unimaginable ways—what are service encounters without the ability to engage in sociability? As service researchers, we need to understand the long-term theoretical and practical implications of COVID-19 in service industries.

The full manuscript must be submitted electronically to the Special Issue by April 30, 2021 (please note that the scholarone system will not be open for submission until March 31, 2021). To be considered for publication, the article must be prepared according to the requirements on the Emerald website.
Potential contributors can contact the Special Issue editors to discuss their ideas for a paper prior to submitting a formal proposal.

More info here.