Retail Atmospherics


Evolution and Challenges Facing Retail Atmospherics in the Era of the “Customer Journey”, Special Issue of the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services; Deadline 15 Feb 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Luca Petruzzellis

Call for papers:

Special Issue of the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (JRCS)

Evolution and Challenges Facing Retail Atmospherics in the Era of the “Customer Journey”

Guest editors

Luca Petruzzellis, University of Bari Aldo Moro,

Barry J. Babin, University of Mississippi,


This special issue is created to pay tribute to Professor Jean-Charles Chebat, who contributed immensely to cutting-edge research and education in the field of retail atmospherics. Jean-Charles research interests were many and varied.  However, he is best known for contributions that helped provide an understanding of the way one’s environment shaped the retail customer experience.  Uniquely, his research applied consumer psychology theory and blended it with knowledge drawn from retailing and services practice and theory.

High quality papers on any aspect of retail atmospherics with a different perspective in the era of customer journeys are welcome. Strategies related to retail atmospherics can have a pervasive influence on customers’ purchase behaviors (Babin, Chebat and Michon, 2004). Specifically, prior studies have identified a number of factors in retail establishments such as, ambient lighting (Biswas et al., 2017), ambient scent (Chebat and Michon, 2003), color (Chebat and Morrin, 2007; Labrecque and Milne, 2012;), music (Petruzzellis, Chebat and Palumbo, 2018), co-shoppers (Borges, Chebat and Babin, 2010).physical proximity to employees (Esmark and Noble, 2016), and similarity with employees (Chebat, Sirgy and St. James, 20060); all of which can influence customers’ feelings, attitudes, and behavioral responses. This special issue is dedicated to contemporary and traditional phenomena in retail and services marketing and operations with respect to the role of retail atmospherics in times of digital transformation.

Although retail atmospherics has been a very active area of study, a new perspective can be adopted following Jean-Charles Chebat seminal works. Retail has to face the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution on the one hand, and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic on the other. Different approaches and perspectives should expand understanding of retail atmospherics to incorporate multiple retail touchpoints that a customer may encounter during a journey that involves different cognitive, emotional, and behavioral cues and responses.

The following are indicative of the potential breadth of contribution:

  • Multisensory approaches to atmospherics
  • VR and AR in retail and services
  • Servicescape and atmospherics in the digital retail era
  • Shopper/consumer behaviour and marketing in omni-channel retail environments
  • Digitalization in retailing
  • The role of artificial intelligence in the retail environment
  • Resilient retailing
  • Business and retail analytics
  • Digital Innovation and technology in the retail environment
  • Contemporary issues in retail atmospherics
  • Research methods in retailing research
  • Replicating key works in retail atmospherics
  • Social retailing
  • Academic retail and service research post p-value

General Information for Prospective Authors

We welcome submissions that can represent different methods. These include but are not limited to new frameworks using multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary explanations. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Submission Procedure

Prospective authors are encouraged to contact one of the guest editors regarding potential topics of interest or any questions/suggestions regarding the special issue. Abstracts (up to 750 words) can be submitted directly to the guest editors via email. Abstracts must be concise and to the point with appropriate references. The guest editors will provide feedback on each submitted abstract.

Please find the “Guide for Authors” and the JRCS home page: for information about formatting and style for the JRCS.  To submit a manuscript for consideration in the special (virtual) issue, please use the JRCS submission page:

Make sure to designate your paper for the special issue by looking for “VSI:Retail Atmospherics” among the special issue topics.  Deadline for manuscript submission is February 15, 2021.  We expect a speedy review process so that only papers requiring less than a major revision will be invited to revise.  In that way, we can publish the VSI in the summer of 2021.