It’s a pretty commonly held belief that attractive salespeople tend to be better at their jobs than their less aesthetically pleasing counterparts.
After all, companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel have practically built their brands on the backs – and racks – of their modelesque employees.
However, a report from the Journal of Consumer Research reveals that there is one scenario when hot staff do not equal more sales.
Researchers Lisa C. Wan and Robert S. Wyer Jr from the Chinese University of Hong Kong wanted to find out how an employee’s attractiveness might negatively impact a store’s bottom line.
They conducted five studies, some of which involved watching how people shop via one-way mirrors.
Their research showed that when customers are buying something they consider embarrassing, they are less likely to go through with the purchase if the salesperson is attractive.
On the other hand, “when a provider is of only average attractiveness, individuals are likely to focus their attention on the product or service they are considering and are unlikely to be sensitive to the impression they create on the provider,” the researchers explained.
This effect was especially true when the store employee was of the opposite sex, and, really, who could blame them? Who wants to buy fungal ointment from the Shoppers Drug Mart version of Ryan Gosling?