ABSTRACT

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to find out the effect of changes in the differentiated “servicescape” on the business performance in the hair salon industry using a case study. For this, we selected hair salon M located in Suwon. The shop is innovatively different from existing shops in terms of spatial layout and functionality. We conducted in-depth research, beginning with the launch of the shop concept through investment and ongoing stable sales. Research design, data, and methodology – The M hair salon is a start up shop providing a differentiated servicescape (physical environment where the service takes place) located in Suwon, Yeongtong-gu. We conducted research to investigate how spatial layout and functionality of the servicescape impact customers' perceived quality. The interview period and case analysis was May 2014 through March 2015, covering 11 months. To conduct the case analysis, we analyzed the spatial layout and functionality of existing shops and interviewed customers and experts about the difference between hair salon M and existing shops. Results – Our results found clues to the positive effect of spatial layout and functionality among servicescape factors on perceived service quality at the salon. The shop showed a fast payback of the principal investment, growth potential in contrast to competitors near the salon, and 45 percent returning customers. The problem with the spatial layout at existing shops was that customers were aware of the way other people were looking at them, since viewing angles overlapped, therefore there was a limitation to the relationship intensity with an exclusive hair designer. In contrast, the layout of the stands at the M salon kept the number of dressing stands limited to maximize the customer's emotional response. Additionally, because of the new layout of dressing stands hiding other customer voices and appearance in the salon, customers perceived their service space as independent. Therefore, they did not have to focus on their personal emotional response, which was one of the advantages of the new layout. Conclusions – This study conducted case study analysis by offering a new perspective focusing on spatial layout, previously not considered as an independent variable of quality evaluations and customer satisfaction in existing literature on hair salon management. Therefore, this study contributes to the field by offering an opportunity to discover the causal relationships between the overlooked physical environment and a customer's perceived quality. However, a process objectifying the results of the study through empirical analysis and hypotheses is needed to overcome the limitations of the case study approach and generalize the results. Moreover, it would be beneficial to conduct further empirical study of the relationship between the spatial layout provided in the case and a customer's emotional response and change in mood. In addition, an analysis is needed regarding how customers feel about the factors using the Kano Model. These suggestions would be considered in further study.

KEYWORD

Hair Salon, Servicescape, Spatial Layout Functionality, Set-Booth

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