The Customer is God: Japanese Service Culture in Clothing Stores

When was the last time you were positively surprised by the service in a clothing store? This thesis explores Japanese service management in clothing stores and makes a comparison with Sweden. The thesis is divided into two major areas: differences between (A) consumers and (B) service. For the analysis, both quantitative and qualitative methods have been used. The quantitative method includes organized mystery shopping in Tokyo and Stockholm and two surveys. The qualitative method includes comments from the mystery shoppers, own observations and interviews with professors and practitioners. Results show that the Japanese customers have higher expectations upon the store and its staff compared to the Swedes. The Japanese place higher demands on the initiative and knowledge of the store personnel, viewing them as nothing short of fashion coordinators whereas the Swedes regard them more as just part of the store layout…

Contents

INTRODUCTION – WHY JAPANESE STORES MATTER
1.2. BACKGROUND – How we arrived at our thesis focus
1.2. PROBLEM – 2 Aspects of the Japanese store
1.3. DELIMITATION – Clothing stores and female consumers
1.4. EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION – Changing our views on Japanese consumers and stores
1.5. KEY TERMS
2. THEORY – THE BACKGROUND TO OUR RESEARCH QUESTIONS
2.1. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK– The nation of Japan and the store
2.2. QUESTION A – A Comparison of Swedish and Japanese consumers
2.3. QUESTION B – The characteristics of a Japanese store and how it differs from a Swedish store
2.4. CULTURAL COMPARISON
2.5 THEORY CONCLUSION – A model of the question
3. METHOD
3.1. Overview of Empirical Data Collected
3.2. Reliability and Validity
3.3. Comparability
3.4. Overview
4. EMPIRICAL DATA & ANALYSIS
4.1. A COMPARISON OF SWEDISH AND JAPANESE CONSUMERS
4.2. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JAPANESE STORE & DIFFERENCES
4.3. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS
5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
5.1. Conclusions
5.2. Practical Implications
5.3. Theoretical implications
5.4. Concluding comment
5.5 Critique of the study
5.6. Future Studies
6. REFERENCES
6.1. Books
6.2. Articles
6.3. Interviews and lectures
6.4. Internet
7. APPENDICES

Author: Heléne Melin, Karl Wikström

Source: Stockholm School of Economics