Title: Consumer research, retailers and robots

Authors: Don E. Schultz; Martin Block

Addresses: Integrated Marketing Communications Department, Northwestern University, 3-101 MTC 1870 Campus Drive Evanston, 60208 IL, USA ' Integrated Marketing Communications Department, Northwestern University, 3-101 MTC 1870 Campus Drive Evanston, 60208 IL, USA

Abstract: Today, there are persistent and ongoing questions about how technology will impact the future of the existing retail marketplace. In this paper, we argue that consumers, not manufacturers, retailers or even technologists will control that marketplace. In this exploratory study, we first review the various technologies under consideration. We follow that with an analysis of a big data set (n = 16,228) of US consumer responses to an online study on retail search and purchase. We find that no one technological solution appears to dominate consumer search or purchase patterns in ten major consumer retail product categories at the time of the study. We conclude that retail technological development is dependent on consumer acceptance and adoption of that technology. We speculate that voice-activated personal intelligent agents have the most likelihood of success in the US retail marketplace in the next five to seven years.

Keywords: consumer search; consumer purchase; retail technologies; retail robots; intelligent agents.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2017.085703

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2017 Vol.8 No.2, pp.172 - 184

Available online: 21 Jul 2017 *

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