The dimensions of storytelling by retail salespeople

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This paper explores storytelling in retail sales to develop a more nuanced understanding of the dimensions of retail storytelling and their importance in influencing consumer behavior. A mixed-method approach is taken to first qualitatively develop understanding of the structure of storytelling in a retail context and then quantitatively test the impact of various storytelling dimensions on consumer purchase intentions. Storytelling is common in retail sales encounters and consumers perceive multiple dimensions of storytelling. Some of these dimensions – story relevance, story humor, and storytelling ability – influence consumers' consumption behavior. This research begins to establish parameters for future examination of the use of storytelling in retail selling and informs managers of specific elements of storytelling on which to focus future training efforts.

Keywords: influence tactics; narrative; personal selling; rapport; sales communication; story

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Marketing, Center for Professional Selling, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, 72204, USA 2: Department of Marketing, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA 3: Department of Marketing, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, 78666, USA

Publication date: March 15, 2014

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