Tangiblizing your service: The role of visual cues in service e-tailing

Yijing Li, Yong Liu, Eric T.K. Lim, Chee Wee Tan

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


While past studies have acknowledged that both tangible and intangible features reside in all goods and services, a persistent challenge for online service retailing resides in the difficultly of portraying services online due to the latter's abstract nature. Drawing on visual rhetoric theory, we advance human facial cues and verbal anchoring as visual cues that can bolster the appeal of tangible elements embedded in the portal image of a given service, which in turn culminates in increased sales. We further examine how the effects of facial cue and verbal anchoring are moderated by consumers' reliance on the tangible cues of the service. By employing computer vision and deep learning techniques to parse out portal images of over 299,000 local service offerings on a popular Chinese group buying site, we discovered that the presence of facial cues and the richness of verbal anchoring embedded in the portal image of a service offering significantly increase sales. Our results further illustrate that these effects are reinforced by consumers' perceived importance of service tangibility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Information Systems 2018, ICIS 2018
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
ISBN (Electronic)9780996683173
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event39th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 13 Dec 201816 Dec 2018

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Information Systems 2018, ICIS 2018


Conference39th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Computer Vision
  • Deep Learning
  • Service Tangibility
  • Visual Rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics

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