It's closing time: : territorial behaviors from customers in response to front line employees
Retailers can benefit from an increased understanding of how human territoriality affects their relationships with customers. In the context of closing time, we show that issuance of boundary markers, or closing time cues, before the closing time boundary can result in perceptions of territory intrusion and territorial responses from customers. In study 1, we identify six types of cues used by employees to signal to customers the closing time boundary is approaching: productive, personal, audio–visual, withdrawal, hostility, and blocking cues. Three additional studies show these cues affect customers’ perceptions of intrusion pressure and their subsequent territorial responses, including: retaliation, abandonment and accession (studies 2–4) and negative word of mouth and temporary abandonment (study 4). Additionally, identification with the store can heighten or dampen the effects of customers’ perceptions of encroachment on their territorial responses (studies 3 and 4), depending on the retail context.