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Digitalisation, retail transformation and change: what will European consumers want from their future shopping centre experience?
Högskolan i Borås, Institutionen Handels- och IT-högskolan. (Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing)
2014 (Engelska)Konferensbidrag, Publicerat paper (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Hållbar utveckling
Innehållet faller inom området hållbar samhällsutveckling
Abstract [en]

Change is one of the most certain features to characterize the retail sector, validated by theories that seek to explain why new retail formats occur - and re-occur - and existing retail business models are challenged (McNair, 1931; Markin & Duncan, 1981; Brown, 1991). Every so often, the change is more radical and potentially disruptive, not just of formats but of the marketplace itself, e.g. the growth of the modern department store (Rigby, 2011; Christensen, 2013). Commentators suggest that we are in the middle of just such a period of transformational change, triggered by digitalization and heralding a clear impact on business models and retail formats: “We'll see a very radical shift in terms of what our shopping future is. Stores will change more over the next twelve years than they have over the past fifty years.” (Paco Underhill, quoted in Kairos Future, 2012). There is a need to understand how shopping destinations and centres should adapt to maintain or win market share in an environment of such dynamic change. On one side, there are a lot of ideas on how to increase the innovation stakes and UK property owners such as Westfield group are beginning to promote digital innovations (Retail Week, 2014). On the other hand, in some European countries, innovations regarding digitalization are not that strong (Sundström & Reynolds, 2014). Forrester Research (2011) estimated that US revenues derived from mobile devices will grow at an annual rate of 39 % to reach 31 billion USD by 2016. There are strong reasons to assume that digitalization will affect and contribute to the overall consumer shopping experience, particularly that in the physical locations. The issue is that no-one, not even consumers, is quite sure what will work. The advent of network-based technologies is amongst the most visible driver of change in the retail sector at present. Moreover, these technologies are very much influenced by the increasing role of the consumer in their adoption and use (Labrecque, 2013). The same technologies could also serve as a value added to the total consumer experience. Mainstream debate about digitalization tends to focus upon the increased presence and impact of e-commerce on established firms within the sector. However, in this paper we define digitalization as a broader concept encompassing the more comprehensive integration of digital technologies into the consumers’ buying process. We argue that digital technologies could be tools that affect attitudes towards a shopping centre in a positive way, and the use of digital devices could make the overall experience better. European consumers have adopted information & communications technology (ICT) and are more than ready to take their ICT usage one step further. Nowadays, consumers use their smartphones and tablets to disseminate and share their shopping experiences in networks of friends, they compare prices in their smartphones when shopping in a fixed store setting, they use applications to structure their shopping lists, and search for advice online. Although retailers are trying to keep up with changing consumer behaviour, through offering free WiFi in stores, mobile applications, and digital devices in the store environment, there is a lack of strategies among retail professionals built on consumer insight and the expectations among consumers which in turn affect the choice of shopping location. In Europe the adoption of ICT is relatively high, but compared to the US, Europe has had far smaller productivity gains from ICT, and is falling behind. According to The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation the reason for this lack of gains is industries’ willingness to invest in ICT capital (ITIF, 2014). A reason for this reluctance to invest might be that no-one, not even the consumers, know what added value comes from integrating ICT in a retail setting. There are many debaters who argue that fixed stores can and will continue to play a critical role in consumers’ browsing and buying behaviour, whilst e-commerce is still currently a ‘minority pursuit’, and research has provided us with deep knowledge on attraction and motivation to visit fixed stores. From literature, marketing research has provided us with knowledge on how customers choose where to shop in terms of shopping location, and proved the importance of patronage and repatronage (Machleit et al., 2005). Knowledge from studies focusing upon consumer intentions towards patronage of a specific shopping centre suggest that store image has a significant role to play in consumers’ patronage decision (Oppewal & Timmermans, 1997; Finn & Louiviere, 1996). However, the comparative empirical evidence for either view is not clear-cut. This paper seeks to use empirical research to better understand the changing nature of the shopping experience across Europe from the consumer’s perspective. Looking at research performed in order to understand the shopping experience from a regional shopping centre, a vast majority of studies are found within the area of tourism research and destination attraction (e.g. Runyan, 2006; Moscardo, 2004; Fiore & Kim, 2007; Sundström et al., 2011) focusing motivation to visit and how retail could be an integrated part of the overall offering to the tourist visitor. We argue that shopping centres (whether managed centres or uncovered downtown locations) still provide the dominant channels for non-food shopping. But in light of the ongoing transformation of the retailing sector regarding effects of digitalization, we also argue that there are strong reasons to consider the potential of interaction between online and in store in developing more attractive shopping centres in the future. Capital intensive projects like shopping centres or malls cannot afford to fail. Is there a possibility that investments in ICT could provide a degree of competitive advantage to shopping centres? Drawing first on a pan-European survey, we seek to discover where and how consumers shop for non-food, what makes a shopping centre attractive today, the changing way in which the consumer in different European countries manages the online and in-store world and thinks about the future of their shopping experience. The survey is based on 21,000 consumers from 20 European countries . It was conducted using online consumer panels, and the findings represent the emerging behavior of this important and fast-growing segment within all markets. We supplement this analysis with a second, more detailed panel survey of 1,200 Swedish consumers, conducted by Kairos Future, which explores the role of the Internet in consumers’ shopping behavior more generally and how the use of ICT adds value in the shopping experience. From these data we elaborate on the ways in which firms might invest in modern ICT in order to add value to the shopping experience. This pragmatically-oriented study proposes impacts from digitalization, as well as seeking to provide a significant addition to the body of knowledge in the area of shopping centre management and consumer behaviour.  

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2014.
Nyckelord [en]
digitalisation, retail research, shopping experience, shopping centres, Handel och innovation, Handel och IT
Nationell ämneskategori
Företagsekonomi
Forskningsämne
Handel och IT
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7192Lokalt ID: 2320/14372OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7192DiVA, id: diva2:887900
Konferens
The 4th Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference Hosted by Center for Retailing, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. 5-6, 2014
Tillgänglig från: 2015-12-22 Skapad: 2015-12-22 Senast uppdaterad: 2016-12-20Bibliografiskt granskad

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