The power of in-store
A qualitative study about how in-store technology
creates value for Swedish retail companies and
Author: Linus Runesson, Joakim Anderson & Casper Svensson Supervisor: John Jeansson Examiner: Miralem Helmefalk Date: 2020-05-22
With an ongoing development in technology, retailers faces new challenges in terms of higher customer expectations. To meet these expectations, retail companies can use in-store technology to enhance the shopping experience and to create more value. This study aims to provide an understanding of in-store technology and how retailers can work with these tools in order to create customer value and improve the
customer experience. The purpose of this study will be to investigate the Swedish market and see how Swedish retail companies work with in-store technology. In this context, the following research questions were formed: (1) How do retail managers use in-store technology to create value for the customers? and (2) How do in-store technology affect frontline employees within retail? In order to answer these questions, a qualitative method was used, where five different retail companies were interviewed, which all have implemented in-store technology. Before the empirical gathering, we chose to keep the companies and the respondents anonymous in order for us to reduce the risk for complications later on in the thesis. This study aims to provide theory and to get an understanding of in-store technology and how
companies can use it to develop their business. A conceptual framework was made to clarify which concepts that was used in order to answer these questions. These concepts were in-store technology, customer value creation, convenience, frontline employees, customer engagement and improved customer experience.
The empirical findings generated theory in which the authors developed two models: (1) The value dynamics, which describe how in-store technology and the interplay between managers, frontline employees, and customers generate value to each other. (2) A three step model where the authors have several suggestions of what retail companies should think of when they implement new technology.
The results of this study conclude how retail companies can use in-store technology in order to create customer value to improve the customer experience. In-store technology has created more value for the customer in terms of a more convenient shopping experience, and in-store technology provides the customer with more information which makes the shopping experience more independent as well. In-store technology has also contributed, in some extent, to a better working
environment for frontline employees.
Convenience, Customer engagement, Customer experience, Customer value, Fronline employees, In-store technology
The authors would like to express our deepest gratitude to the respondents, who have taken their time and provided important knowledge and contributions to our
empirical results, as well as their personal thoughts and experiences. We also want to thank our supervisor John Jeansson for his advice and guidelines, which made it possible for us to write this thesis. Furthermore, we want to thank our examiner Miralem Helmefalk as well as our fellow students, who have provided us with constructive criticism and useful comments in order for us to complete this thesis.
Contents1 Introduction _________________________________________________________ 1 1.1 Background ______________________________________________________ 1 1.2 Problem discussion ________________________________________________ 2 1.2.1 Theoretical problem ____________________________________________ 2 1.2.2 Managerial problem ____________________________________________ 4 1.3 Purpose__________________________________________________________ 5 1.4 Research questions _________________________________________________ 5 1.5 Delimitations _____________________________________________________ 5 2 Method _____________________________________________________________ 6 2.1 Research philosophy _______________________________________________ 6 2.2 Research approach _________________________________________________ 6 2.3 Research method __________________________________________________ 7 2.4 Sampling of data __________________________________________________ 8 2.4.1 Primary data __________________________________________________ 8 2.4.2 Secondary data ________________________________________________ 9 2.4.3 Semi-structured interviews _______________________________________ 9 2.4.4 Implementation of interviews ____________________________________ 10 2.4.5 Operationalization ____________________________________________ 11 2.5 Data analysis ____________________________________________________ 13 2.6 Company selection ________________________________________________ 14 2.7 Quality of research ________________________________________________ 15 2.8 Research ethics __________________________________________________ 17 2.8.1 Ethical consideration __________________________________________ 17 2.8.2 Sustainable consideration _______________________________________ 17 3 Literature review ___________________________________________________ 18 3.1 In-store technology _______________________________________________ 18
3.1.1 Introducing in-store technology __________________________________ 18 3.1.2 What in-store technology can offer retailers ________________________ 19 3.1.3 Mobile applications ___________________________________________ 21 3.1.4 AR-technology ________________________________________________ 22 3.1.5 Self-service technology _________________________________________ 22 3.2 Customer value __________________________________________________ 23 3.2.1 Convenience _________________________________________________ 24 3.2.2 Customer engagement__________________________________________ 25 3.2.3 Frontline Employees and the Influence of In-store Technology __________ 26
3.3 Customer experience and the influence of in-store technology ______________ 27 3.4 Conceptual framework _____________________________________________ 29
4 Empirical Findings __________________________________________________ 31
4.1.1 Company A __________________________________________________ 31 4.1.2 Company B __________________________________________________ 31 4.1.3 Company C __________________________________________________ 31 4.1.4 Company D __________________________________________________ 31 4.1.5 Company E __________________________________________________ 31 4.2 In-store technology _______________________________________________ 32 4.2.1 Implementation strategy ________________________________________ 33 4.2.2 Advantages and challenges ______________________________________ 33
4.3 In-store technology that creates customer value _________________________ 35
4.3.1 Convenience by saving time and ease to find ________________________ 37 4.3.2 Customer engagement__________________________________________ 38
4.4 In-store technology creates an enhanced customer experience ______________ 39
4.4.1 In-store technologies and how it affect the customer experience _________ 39 4.4.2 In-store technologies can enable customers to shop more independently __ 40
4.5 Technology and the frontline employees _______________________________ 41
4.5.1 The impact on physical service ___________________________________ 43
4.6 The future of in-store technology ____________________________________ 43
5 Analysis & Discussion ________________________________________________ 46
5.1 In-store technology _______________________________________________ 46
5.1.1 Implementation of in-store technology _____________________________ 46
5.2 Customer value __________________________________________________ 46
5.2.1 Provide tools which creates customer value_________________________ 46 5.2.2 Convenience _________________________________________________ 47 5.2.3 In-store technology creates more ways to interact with customers _______ 48 5.2.4 Customers are becoming more independent _________________________ 48 5.2.5 Technology does not replace frontline employees ____________________ 49
5.3 Improved customer experience ______________________________________ 50
5.3.1 Customer value in different stages of the customer experience __________ 50 5.3.2 Using in-store technology can improve the customer experience ________ 50
5.4 The future of in-store technology ____________________________________ 51 5.5 Value dynamics of in-store technology ________________________________ 51
5.5.1 The interplay between managers and frontline employees ______________ 52 5.5.2 The interplay between managers and customers _____________________ 52 5.5.3 The interplay between frontline employees and customers _____________ 53
5.6 Implementing in-store technology ____________________________________ 53
5.6.1 The choice of technology should be customer driven __________________ 54 5.6.2 The choice of technology should facilitate work and enhance the frontline employees ________________________________________________________ 55 5.6.3 The choice of technology should be well developed and tested properly before implementation ______________________________________________ 55
6 Conclusions ________________________________________________________ 57
6.1 Research questions ________________________________________________ 57 6.2 Theoretical implications ___________________________________________ 58 6.3 Managerial implications ___________________________________________ 58 6.4 Ethical and sustainable implications __________________________________ 59
6.4.1 Ethical implications ___________________________________________ 59 6.4.2 Sustainable implications ________________________________________ 59
6.5 Limitations and further research _____________________________________ 59
References ___________________________________________________________ 61 Appendices ___________________________________________________________ I
Appendix 1 – Interview information ______________________________________ I Appendix 2 – Interview guide __________________________________________ III Appendix 3 – Work process and individual contributions ____________________ V
This chapter gives a background of the main areas this study tends to examine. Moreover, it provides the reader with managerial and theoretical problems as well as a theory gap. Further, the purpose, the research questions and delimitations will be presented.
The retailing landscape is constantly changing with new technology creating new ways of operating the business. In this paper the physical store is in focus. In-store technology such as self-checkouts, info-kiosks and mobile applications have changed the way shoppers behave in brick-and-mortar stores, making them more independent by being able to find answers and make purchases on their own (Grewal, Noble, Roggeveen & Nordfält, 2019). Moreover, the technology relieve and assist frontline employees and has change the way they perform their daily tasks. This study is about technological solutions and how they are being used by retailers to improve the customer experience.
Due to the development of online retailing, retail firms with physical stores, the brick- and-mortar retailers, have added online channels to be able to compete and stay relevant for their customers, turning their brick-and-mortar model into bricks-and-clicks, also called multichannel retailing (Frasquet and Miquel, 2016).
Multichannel retailing can be defined as activities which involve selling products or services to consumers through more than one channel (Farris et al. 2010). Offline and online retailing were for some time being viewed as two separate channels
competing rather than channels that can complement each other. Treating the channels as separate divisions will increase the risk of channel cannibalization (Cao & Li, 2015). However, if retailers are able to combine the channels, they might be able to turn away from cannibalization and create synergies. Moreover, the
technological development has continued, and new channels have emerged, such as mobile applications, tablets and social media changing both the online and offline retail environment (Cao & Li, 2015). Together these channels provide customers with more information and choices, and due to that the concept of omnichannel has developed. Omnichannel can be defined as retailers integrating their different technologies and shopping alternatives (Akturk, Heim, & Ketzenberg, 2018). Retailers do this in order to offer the customers a seamless shopping experience through their different channels. This will create opportunities for the customers to be able to use different types of channels during their customer journey, for instance seamlessly switching between the online, in-store and mobile channel. The concepts of multichannel and omnichannel point out that the offline channel no longer is offline, it is rather a channel physically bound to a location which is dependent on technology and other channels working as a unit.
Media outlets have recently provided headlines which describe a dark future for physical based retailers (e.g., Peterson, 2018) which might propose that retailers should acquire an online retailing approach and switch to an omnichannel strategy. While this might be true for some retailers, it might be the wrong focus for others, as physical stores still account for 88% of the world's total retail sales in 2018 (McNair, 2018). Not only have the technological developments created and enhanced
e-commerce, they have also created opportunities to develop the physical store further (Grewal, Noble, Roggeveen & Nordfält, 2019).
As the digital evolution and the online shopping have progressed, higher customer expectations emerged which set new requirements on physical retailers (Blazquez, 2014). By delivering a high standard of service quality to meet the customers’ expectations, and by delivering a unique in-store experience, physical stores try to adjust to the technological changes that have emerged (Chun-Hua, 2018). E-commerce changed the retailing landscape and many retailers have during the past decade had to manage their business in an unfamiliar setting. Retailers now have the chance to offer their customers new innovative ways of shopping through in-store technology. By using in-store technology such as tablets, augmented reality, and self-service technology, retailers can enhance the customer experience and be more profitable (Hye-Young, Ji Young, Jung, & Johnson, 2016). Meuter, Ostrom,
Roundtree & Bitner (2000) gave Self-Service Technology, SST, the definition
“Self-service technologies (SSTs) are technological interfaces that enable customers to produce a service independent of direct service employee involvement” (p. 1).
Retailers can experiment with the technologies that are available to come up with what type of technologies that benefit their business the most. The shopping
experience in a physical store is a vital part of the customer journey, and the in-store technology can be the difference of how customers experience their visit, making it more convenient (Grewel et al. 2019). Convenience in this context means that technology contribute to the customer journey making it more effortless and less time consuming, such as SSTs can reduce waiting time.
1.2 Problem discussion
1.2.1 Theoretical problem
The line between online shopping and traditional shopping have become blurred (Kersmark & Staflund, 2015). A problem that occurs is that the physical store works like a pillar to help the other channels. As a consequence, consumers may use a physical channel for information research and an online channel for their purchase. Thereby consumers use the physical store as a showroom to try on and feel the products, then order them online instead of purchasing the products at the physical store (Herhausen et al. 2015). At times the physical store is part of the same company and sometimes not, however the result is often the same; the revenue gets credited to the online channel rather than the physical store. This scenario creates channel conflict and cannibalization where the online store drives most of the sales and is part of the reason why many retailers have closed their physical stores (Kim & Chun,
2018; Bränström, 2019). Adding and integrating different channels create both opportunities as well as challenges for retailers (Cao & Li, 2015). Companies need to manage their different channels to be able to create synergies. This because synergy is built upon the skill to combinate the channels. For instance, by using channel integration and in-store technology, retailers can create an enhanced customer experience that leads to increased sales.
In-store technology is an important part of the customer journey and retailers should consider to invest in in-store technology to enhance the customer experience (Grewel et al. 2019). Retailers can use in-store technology to either assist the frontline staff with their different tasks or to some extent replace them with the self-service
technologies, SSTs. The use of technology creates opportunities and advantages but some negative aspects occur. For instance, SSTs might eliminate the human
encounters and the use of traditional service encounters. It is important for retailers to be aware of this issue and use the awareness as an advantage to bring satisfaction from both technology and the human touch that comes with personal service. Further, In-store technology can create opportunities for retailers to integrate their different channels. To this date, consumers want a consistent experience through all the channels where each channel have accurate information (Bellini, D’Ascenzo, Marco, & Savastano, 2019). By using in-store technology retailers can integrate their channels to deliver the same information and choices to their consumers both in-store and online.
In-store technology enables customers to shop more independently. Technology can provide the customers with tools to be in charge of their own shopping experience (Stone, 2011). Moreover, young customers prefers to shop in their own way. The change in shopping preference might cause the retailers to have less control of the customer journey. However, if independence is what the customer asks for, retailers need to provide it in order to reach higher levels of customer satisfaction. Further, the use of technology creates several touch points where customers interact with the retailer (Grewal et al. 2019). This suggests that the customers’ strive for an independent shopping experience change how retailers will interact with their customers. Even though the customers will move more freely during their customer journey, the use of technologies establishes more points of contact between the retailer and the customer. Consequently, retailers need to accept that the installation of in-store technologies might result in less control of the customer journey and turn focus to the technological touch points. Stein and Ramaseshan (2016) define the technological touch points as “A customer’s direct interaction with any form of
technology during an encounter with a retailer” (p. 12). Moreover, they point out
that the technological elements can have a beneficial (in terms of easy and convenient) or detrimental (in terms of frustrating and agitating) influence of the customer experience. In order to make full use of technologies retailers face the challenge of eliminating the detrimental impacts on the customer experience.
easy to use and contributes to their quality of life. Further, older generations ask for more assistance than younger generations. Moreover, Wang, Harris and Patterson (2010) state that some older customers tend to avoid using self-service technologies unless someone show them how to use them. These statements suggest that the implementation of technology might evoke feelings of insecurity and doubt depending on how familiar the customers are to the technology, as well as their abilities to learn how to use them. In-store technologies are installed to assist both the customers and the frontline employees. However, retailers need to put effort in learning staff and customers how to use them, ensuring that less tech savvy
customers and employees can make full use of the technology, making it a valuable tool rather than an annoying obstacle.
Many researchers have studied how in-store technology affects the customer (Grewal et al. 2019; Bellini et al. 2019; Stone 2011; Berger et al. 2018). The identified gap is the viewpoint of how managers reason when implementing technology. This in terms of how technology affects the customer, but also the frontline employees, and in extent, the customer experience. Moreover, even though in-store technology has been researched earlier, we believe it can be further studied as the phenomenon is always in an ongoing development.
1.2.2 Managerial problem
The problem becomes practical when retailers start to close some of their physical stores (Bränström, 2019). With years of sales and shopping traffic declining, the physical store has been battling to stay open (Peterson, 2017). According to the former executive at Neiman Marcus and Sears, Steven Dennis, closing stores is not the path to profitability (Peterson, 2017). Instead he suggests that the solution for retailers is to begin investing in their stores. To put this in perspective, stores are closing every day in Britain. In 2019, stores opening versus closing each day was nine to sixteen which results in more stores closing then opening (Butler, 2019). The same phenomenon appears in Sweden where many companies are struggling to keep their stores open (Bränström, 2019). Closing stores comes with another issue in people becoming unemployed. To be able to stay competitive and keep the stores alive, retailers need to consider different solutions to the challenges they face. The problem is often that visiting a store is not as convenient as shopping through a computer or a phone (Meyersohn, 2019). Therefore, several retailers have started to use in-store technology to make the shopping experience more convenient. Although in theory it might sound easy to convince consumers to use in-store technology, research suggests the opposite. In a survey made by the consulting firm A.T. Kearney, the answers reveal that consumers are aware of in-store technology but only a third of the consumers have ever used it in a store (Meyersohn, 2019). However, even if in-store technology is one solution towards solving the problems that physical stores are facing, implementing technology might bring new challenges (Peterson, 2017). Due to the pressure from the online world, brick-and-mortar
retailers need to centre their attention to enhancing the customer experience within the store. New opportunities have arrived for retailers with the range of new and different technologies. Further, a problem that might appear is to the extent of how retailers use in-store technologies (Kathotia, 2019). Therefore it is important for retailers to know exactly what customers want, because using too much or the wrong type of technology might invade on the customer’s privacy. Customer’s privacy is referred to data privacy and security. Customers do not mind using in-store
technology as long as it is convenient and provides them with an improved in-store experience. Moreover, some customers prefer the connection to the frontline employees, and therefore it is important for the retailer to have this in mind when installing in-store technology (Kathotia, 2019). Customers want the same experience they get from buying online; a seamless experience that is easy, informative and convenient. Therefore, retailers need to consider how they can use in-store
technology in order to assist the frontline employees (da Silva, 2017). With the tool of empowering the frontline employees with in-store technology, the technology will run the business more efficiently.
The purpose of this paper is to study how Swedish retail companies work with in-store technology because we want to understand how managers use in-in-store technology to create value for customers, in order to find out how in-store technology can improve the customer experience.
1.4 Research questions
● How do retail managers use in-store technology to create value for the customers?
● How do in-store technology affect frontline employees within retail?
This study has been delimited to examine the phenomenon of in-store technology on the Swedish retail market. Consequently, this study will have a number of
boundaries. For instance, this study is written from a managerial point of view. Therefore, the perspective of the customer will not be included, which may have provided information of the customers’ opinions regarding in-store technology. The study is based on a qualitative research method as the purpose is to increase the understanding of the phenomenon and how it can be utilized. The respondents will come from medium- to large-sized companies that are already using in-store technology, chosen in order to present information which is relevant for this study. Consequently, this paper will not examine retailers that are not using in-store
technology and why they choose not to. The presented theory is delimited according to the purpose of the paper.
In this chapter, the authors introduce which methods and approaches that has been used to answer the research questions. The choice of interviewees and which strategies for this research that has been used will all be accounted for in this chapter as well.
2.1 Research philosophy
Among several research philosophies, there are two common ones: positivism and hermeneutics. Consequently, the chosen philosophy will determine the study in terms of its strategy and research process (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2016). Through history, positivism has been the philosophy for quantitative, statistical hard data methods used for analysis and explanatory models grounded in science. Further, it use a research approach which is objective (Patel & Davidson, 2019). Hermeneutics can be referred to as the doctrine of interpretation (Patel & Davidson, 2019).
Moreover, Myers (2013) defines it as the philosophical grounding for interpretivism. Hermeneutics is used to study, interpret and try to understand a phenomenon. The purpose of hermeneutics is to make sense of the phenomenon that is studied. This is often achieved by using a qualitative research method and an inductive approach. Further, it use a research approach which is open, subjective and engaged (Patel & Davidson, 2019).
Hermeneutics have contributed with the understanding of how information is interpreted and how information systems are being used (Myers, 2013). Thus, it has helped with the understanding of how information systems develop. Moreover, it has been used to understand the influence of information systems in both social and organizational contexts, and in marketing to research the meaning of advertising for consumers (Myers, 2013). The intention of this study is to use an approach of interpretation through interviews of chosen participants of different Swedish companies to understand how the phenomenon of in-store technology can improve the customer experience. Thus, a hermeneutic approach is chosen.
2.2 Research approach
The two approaches of deductive and inductive research are what researchers use to define the relationship between theory and research (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019). In a deductive approach, researchers starts top-down, meaning that the research starts from theory around the chosen topic (Myers, 2013). The theory can then be
operationalized into hypotheses, which later will be tested by the empirical data (Sekaran & Bougie 2016). A researcher which uses inductive reasoning starts bottom up, meaning that the researcher begins with collecting data around a topic (Myers, 2013). From analyzing these data, patterns can emerge in which tentative hypotheses can be formed. The researcher then develop these hypotheses into general theory. Moreover, there is a third approach that can be described as a combination of both the deductive and inductive approach, which is the abductive approach (Bell,
Bryman, Harley, 2019). A researcher using an abductive approach gather empirical data around a phenomenon in order to generate theory, the theory will then be tested by hypotheses (Patel & Davidson, 2019). This approach is used to overcome the limitations that exist in the inductive and deductive approach. Further, the abductive approach provides the researcher an opportunity to work with both an inductive and deductive approach in parallel (Patel & Davidson, 2019).
The inductive approach is more common in qualitative research (Hyde, 2000; Myers, 2013; Bell, Bryman & Harley, 2019). However, when conducting qualitative
research, researchers can choose to use either an inductive or deductive approach (Myers, 2013). Nevertheless, Hyde (2000) suggests that researchers applies both deductive and inductive processes during their research process. Further, Loseke (2016) stated “In summary, quality research often is more or less inductive and more
or less deductive.” (p. 76). Therefore, an interplay between the two research
approaches will occur during the work process of this study. However, this study has strived to use an inductive approach. This due to that the intention of this study is to be exploratory, in order to generate knowledge about how retailers can use in-store technology in order to improve the customer experience. However, this research process contains of deductive elements, in terms of a literature review and a deductive operationalization, which were implemented before collecting the
empirical findings. This in order to receive an understanding of the phenomenon that is in-store technology and its development. Some of the deductive elements was the outcome of conducting a research proposal, which was done before this study, in order to collect information of a certain subject. Already at this point, this was more angled towards an deductive approach, where the research start in theory and
thereafter starts to collect empirical findings (Sekaran & Bougie 2016). In conclusion, the authors want to emphasize that they strive to use an inductive approach due to intention of the study. This study’s aim is therefore not to test theory, which is done in an deductive approach, but instead to generate theory and knowledge, which is the intention of an inductive approach. However, elements of an deductive approach has occurred during the research process.
2.3 Research method
In this thesis the primary data gathering is coming from semi-structured interviews. The development of qualitative research methods has given researchers the
opportunity to research about social and cultural phenomenon (Myers 2013). The qualitative research method is appropriate to use when the researcher wants to study a specific subject or phenomenon in detail. Moreover, it is often the method of choice if the research is of exploratory nature. This thesis intends to research about the phenomenon of in-store technology, how it can help retailers to create more value for the customer and how it can assist the frontline employees in their daily work. Therefore, the choice of a qualitative research method matches the intended research subject.
2.4 Sampling of data
In quantitative research the main objective is sampling that revolves around
probability. However, in qualitative research it revolves around purposive sampling (Bell, Bryman, Harley 2019). In a purposive sampling, the goal is to sample cases or participants in a strategic way, which will be relevant to the research questions. The purposive sampling of organizations or people are not selected by random. They are chosen because of their relevance regarding the research questions. In qualitative interviewing the researcher want to access a broad range of people relevant to the specific research questions, to find and capture as many different perspectives as possible (Bell, Bryman, Harley, 2019).
In order to answer the research questions, a qualitative method will be taken, by performing semi-structured interviews on retailers which are using in-store
technology based in Sweden. Consequently, the sample is not random, but a selected sample in order to answer the research questions in this study. The purpose of this paper is to understand and generate theory rather than test theory, therefore qualitative interviews is the most proper approach to conduct this study. As the purpose of this paper is to study how Swedish companies work with in-store technology in order to create value for customers and improve the customer
experience, the main objective was to select and interview companies that have and use in-store technology. Therefore, before choosing the specific companies,
information was gathered to find companies that use in-store technology. Companies was selected from different businesses in order to collect different perspectives. Another desired attribute was that the interviewees should possess knowledge regarding in-store technology and how this could affect both customers and
employees. Moreover, the use of semi-structured interviews is appropriate as it is a method of data collection which enables deep insights of participants, in this case people working closely with in-store technology. These deep insights could be lost if choosing another approach. To ensure that the interviews will be fairly similar and founded in theory, an operationalization scheme and an interview guide was created. This interview guide can be found as appendix 2 under the appendix chapter. It was designed to enable follow-up and open ended questions which provide opportunities of receiving rich and detailed answers. It would be desirable to conduct the
interviews face-to-face but due to the prevailing pandemic of covid-19 the majority of the interviews was conducted by video calls. However, the strategy of using video calls comes with benefits of reaching the participants no matter the distance as well as no traveling costs.
2.4.1 Primary data
Myers (2013) wrote that primary data are sources which are unpublished and is gathered directly from people or organizations. The data that is collected and included as primary data are data from example interviews and fieldworks (Myers 2013). Sekaran and Bougie (2016) define primary data as “data collected first-hand
thesis will be using interviews as the primary data with intent of supplying input in terms of how Swedish retailers work with in-store technology. The focus of this study will therefore be to interview retailers that use in-store technology. Each interview will be recorded and transcribed and later on compiled into a document that contains all the material. This was done in order to separate the resemblance as well as the difference between the interviewees answers. Furthermore, the Findings can be found under the empirical findings chapter and has been analyzed in relation to theory under the analysis and discussion chapter.
2.4.2 Secondary data
Myers (2013) describes secondary data as being a source that is gathered and recently been published. Secondary data include for instance published books, newspaper articles and journal articles which recently have been published (Myers 2013). Sekaran and Bougie (2016) define secondary data as “data that already exist
and do not have to be collected by a researcher” (p. 396). In terms of theory and
secondary data will this thesis mainly include peer-reviewed scientific articles, data in published books and newspaper articles, which will provide a foundation to this study. The focus will be to use up-to-date scientific articles to ensure that the information is the latest discussed and relevant today. Although, some older references will also be used to provide an overview of how the related topic has developed over the years. The articles will deal with several theoretical concepts about in-store technology, customer value, customer experience, frontline employees, which will contribute to the study.
The literature review in this paper is based on sources that was searched through three different electronic databases: OneSearch, Business Source Premier and Google Scholar. It was searched by title and subject terms to narrowing it down and find the right information. The main search terms consist of different combinations of “in-store technology”, “customer value”, “customer experience”, “convenience”, “frontline employees” and “physical retailer”. The literature that was researched and being used in this paper are from the year 1985 until to date. Only peer-reviewed articles were used in the literature review. Both English and Swedish articles was included.
2.4.3 Semi-structured interviews
There are several types of interviews a researcher can use in order to answer their research questions. As mentioned, semi-structured interviews will be conducted to answer the research question in this study. When using semi-structured interviews, the researcher often has a table of subjects and a number of key questions that is going to be asked (Lewis, Saunders, Thornhill 2016). Thus, questions may be different depending on which company and person that is being interviewed. Moreover, the questions may be asked in a different order depending on who the interviewee are and how the conversation unfolds. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews is favorable when the study is exploratory. Managers are more likely to
accept being interviewed rather than answering a questionnaire, even more so if they find the subject of the interview interesting and can use it to develop their business (Lewis et al. 2016). Furthermore, semi-structured interviews are advantageous when the researches have many questions for the interviewee. Further, the questions are open-ended which leads to an open discussion.
The purpose of this paper is to study how retailers use in-store technology to create value for the customers, and with the previously stated advantages with semi-structured interviews the authors believe that this method would be favorable in order to answer the research questions. A reason why semi-structured interviews was used in this study was to create an open discussion with the retailers rather than getting an answer of yes or no, which is more done in a structured interview. Another reason why semi-structured interviews was chosen, was because this study aim to achieve a greater understanding of how and why retailers work with in-store
technology and with a structured interview, getting only a yes or no, do not provide any greater understanding. The interviews aim was also to be prepared to ask follow up questions, which is also another argument to why this study chose semi-structured interviews.
2.4.4 Implementation of interviews
This study is based on interviews of several companies that use in-store technology. The first step in the implementation of interviews was to contact the companies. This was done by sending emails, calling by phone and reach out by meeting local
companies. During the first contact of the selected companies, the purpose of this study was explained, the research questions presented and a description of in-store technology was provided. This to ensure that the participants have the right expertise in order to provide relevant information for this study. Before each interview, an email was sent to the interviewee with information regarding the purpose, how the interview was going to be accomplished and the estimated time for the interview. This interview information can be found as appendix 1 under the appendix chapter. Bell and Waters (2016) mention the importance of giving the participants the right information in time to prepare for the interview. This in order to provide the
respondents a feeling of safeness and at the same time provide them the opportunity to prepare and time to reflect on what they commit to. It will also show the
researchers that the respondents have given them their consent. Patel and Davidson (2019) describe the qualitative interview as a two-way communication between the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer should highlight the research problem and help the interviewee to build the interview around the discussed phenomenon. The two-way communication can also inform the respondent to how the answers will be dealt with. Therefore, each interviewee will be provided with a brief information about the study and what will be discussed. As mentioned earlier this interview information can be found in the appendix as appendix 1. Each
the interview take place. This document will also contain both information how the interview will be conducted as well as how the answers will be dealt with.
Bell and Waters (2016) also mentioned that some of the interviewees might not accept to be recorded during the interview. Therefore, the interviewees will get the option to not be recorded. Afterwards each interviewee will have the opportunity to receive and read the thesis and if they do not agree with something, it will be
changed. Bell, Bryman and Harley (2019) argued for how important it is in research not to harm the participants by breaking the ethical codes. If the respondent request for confidentiality and anonymity, this should be honored. Instead of giving each respondent the option of being anonymous, the researchers of this study came to the conclusion that this study will use anonymity throughout this paper in order to avoid any complication that could have arrived later on. Patel and Davidson (2019) bring up how important it is to be well prepared for the interviews so that the questions is formulated in a way that it would not be misunderstood. The problem may be when a interviewer is well informed within a subject, that what they might think as obvious, the interviewee does not. Therefore, there is a good idea for someone else to go through the questions to check if they believe that all of the questions are well
formulated in order to avoid misunderstandings. Before finishing the interview guide and the interview questions for the interviews, the supervisor of this paper, John Jeansson, will look through the questions, to ensure that no misunderstanding can be made. As mentioned earlier, this interview guide can be found in the appendix chapter as appendix 2.
The translation of a theory concept into a questionnaire or into questions for an interview by identify central parts in the theory is referred to as operationalization of a concept (Patel & Davidson, 2019). The idea of establishing an operationalization schedule enables the researcher to define immeasurable concepts that was found in the theory into something measurable. Moreover, an interview guide is often developed together with the operationalization scheme in order to answer the research questions.
An operationalization of this kind is a deductive process which generates questions based on existing theory and concepts. Here, a deductive process has been executed in order to identify themes which the interviewees can discuss. However, the intention is not to test theory, but to create understanding around the phenomenon. Therefore, a deductive process has been executed, but with an inductive intention. When developing the interview guide for this study, which has been mentioned earlier can be found in the appendix as appendix 2, an operationalization was made from the theoretical concepts of (1) In-store technology, (2) Customer value, (3) Customer experience, and (4) Frontline employees, all which can be found in the literature review. The purpose of this approach is to research the phenomenon of
in-store technology and thereby achieve greater understanding. Questions for the interview was developed in such manner that they was based in the theoretical concepts and can answer the research questions. The questions was gathered into an interview guide which was used to support the concepts that was supposed to be discussed during the interviews.
Questions in the interview guide
Theme Purpose Answers the
The purpose of these questions are to create an understanding of the interviewee’s
background, competence and working tasks as well as their view on
1 and 2.
The purpose of these questions are to receive information of what technologies are being used and why.
3, 4, 5. Customer value The purpose of these questions are to understand how the in-store technology can create customer value in terms of convenience and customer engagement.
6, 7. Customer
The purpose of these questions are to
understand how in-store technology influence the customer experience.
The purpose of these questions is to receive information about how in-store technology affect frontline employees.
9. Future The purpose of these questions is to receive knowledge of what lies ahead in terms of in-store technology.
1 and 2.
10. Other The interviewee receive
the opportunity to add relevant information.
1 and 2.
Table 1 Operationalization (authors own contribution).
2.5 Data analysis
All of the respondents gave their consent for the interview to be recorded. This facilitated the work for the researchers to transcribe the interviews into text-format. The research approach determines how much of data that is going to be coded (Lewis, Saunders, Thornhill 2016). In an inductive research approach there is likely that the researchers code all of the data that has been gathered. Because of the authors of this study has strived for an inductive approach, all of the empirical data was coded into transcripts. When transcribing an recorded interview it is important for the person who is transcribing the interview to transcribe it in the exact same way as the respondent answered (Bell, Bryman, Harley 2019). It is also important not to guess what the respondent said, if there is a word that is hard to hear the person who is transcribing should skip that word and replace it with dots(...) instead. However, bad language, laughs and repetitions of words were not written down in the
transcribed version of the interview. During the interviews for this research the researchers used three mobile phones to record what the respondent said, this was to limit the risk of loss of important information from the respondent. When the
interviews for this research was completed, the work with transcription started immediately. The time duration of transcribing one interview was around two to four hours depending on how long the interview was.
After the interviews were transcribed, the work with analyzing the interviews started. To analyze the data, a thematic approach were used. A thematic analysis can be of help to the researchers when for example there is a large amount of data, it can be a help to identify specific themes or patterns (Lewis, Saunders, Thornhill 2016). Furthermore, the thematic analysis can be used whether the researcher use a deductive or inductive research approach. When using an inductive approach, the themes should be derived from data (Lewis et al. 2016). Therefore, a thematic analysis were used to identify themes to get an understanding of how the selected companies worked with in-store technology. It exist difficulties when it comes to analyzing data in qualitative research (Bell, Bryman, Harley 2019). This because it rapidly generates large and complex dataset with often unstructured language. The general inductive approach for analyzing data in a qualitative research method serves
a number of different purposes (Thomas, 2006). It shortens the data into a brief summary, and it provides distinct ties between the research objectives and the findings from the research. A general inductive approach also provides a facilitated procedure for analyzing the data that has been gathered. The initiative of using the inductive approach means that conclusions are drawn from the results of a study in which theories are formed based on the empirical findings (Ahrne & Svensson, 2015). Therefore does the researcher need to find a path to find the data that is significant and avoid to be captivated with the richness of all data, the thematic analysis can help the researchers doing this. This is mentioned, to draw conclusions about the phenomenon that is researched about and generate theory.
This study will use the help of the operationalization scheme to compile the richness of the data into a summary, where each respondent own words will be placed under each theoretical concept, (1) In-store technology, (2) Customer value, (3) Customer experience, and (4) Frontline employees. This was done in order to draw conclusions and find relations between theory and empirical findings. As the interview guide and operationalization was created to define a distinct line between purpose and research questions, as well as questions to identify central parts in theory, the use of them helped this study to find the most relevant material to be processed in the analysis and discussion. The interview guide can be found in the appendix chapter as appendix 2 and the operationalization scheme can be found as table 1 under 3.4.5 operationalization in the method.
2.6 Company selection
The sample size of qualitative research can be difficult to establish when it comes to how many interviews that should be done in order to achieve theoretical saturation (Bell, Bryman, Harley, 2019). The general aspect of sample size in qualitative research is that it should not be too small, which can make it difficult to achieve data saturation, theoretical saturation or informational redundancy. It should neither be as large to the extent that it would be difficult to undertake a deeper understanding and case-oriented analysis. In relation to time and guidelines of how many interviews that should be done, five companies was selected. This because larger amount of data would have been unmanageable because of the time limit. A large amount of data could also have made it difficult to analyze, as well as creating a risk of missing important details (Bell, Bryman, Harley, 2019).
The companies that was selected for this study have and use in-store technology. Each interviewee was selected because they possess knowledge of in-store
technology and how it can affect both customers and employees. Due to the current situation regarding the Corona-virus the researches had problems of getting
companies who wanted to participate for an interview. Because of this, the
researchers chose to interview two people from company E to get the right amount of data to analyze. In table 2 there is a short description of each company that was interviewed for this study.
Table 2 Company selection (authors own contribution).
2.7 Quality of research
To evaluate the quality in research, researchers can use three criterias; reliability, replicability and validity (Bell, Bryman, & Harley 2019). Reliability refers to whether or not the study is consistent. Replicability refers to that a study should be capable of replication, and is closely related the criteria of reliability. Validity refers to the integrity and authenticity of the study, and is used to measure whether the study is capturing what it is intended to investigate (Bell, Bryman, & Harley 2019). However, the process of evaluation is widely discussed, and some researchers found these criterias not being applicable when conducting qualitative research (Bell, Bryman, & Harley 2019).
According to Patel and Davidson (2019), the criterias of validity and reliability can also be applied in qualitative research, however, the criterias have different meanings in a qualitative approach. Patel and Davidson (2019) suggest that validity in
qualitative research depends on the interviewer’s and the interviewee’s ability to interpret and understand different perceptions. Moreover, in qualitative research, the criteria of validity evaluates the entire research process, rather than focusing on the process of data collection (Patel & Davidson, 2019). Therefore, the pursuit of validity should permeate all parts of the research process. Reliability in qualitative research should be evaluated towards the setting of the unique situation which
prevails at the time of investigation (Patel & Davidson, 2019). Reliability occurs if a question can capture the uniqueness of a situation, and it might therefore be
expressed as variation in the responses. Thus, capturing the uniqueness of a situation is more important than receiving the same response (Patel & Davidson, 2019). In qualitative research, the criteria of reliability is intertwined with validity, and therefore many researchers rarely use the concept of reliability (Patel & Davidson, 2019). Instead, it is considered as another element of validity.
Bell, Bryman and Harley (2019) suggest that it can be more relevant to use trustworthiness as a criterion of evaluation in qualitative studies. Moreover, they state that trustworthiness consists of the four aspects of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. A study can achieve credibility if the findings are believable, this can include that the findings is being shared and verified by experts within the field. Transferability is achieved if the findings can be applied to other contexts. A study achieve dependability if researchers achieve similar results if the study is repeated. Confirmability refers to the objectivity, whether or not the researchers have used their own values to intrude the results to a high degree (Bell, Bryman, & Harley, 2019). Furthermore, the four aspects of trustworthiness all have an equivalent criterion in quantitative research, where credibility equals internal validity, transferability equals external validity, dependability equals reliability and confirmability equals objectivity (Bell, Bryman, & Harley, 2019).
To achieve credibility, our supervisor, examiner and other students have been able to take part of, and verify the data collected. Before conducting the interviews, the interview questions were verified by our supervisor, who has years of experience within the field. This was done in order to ensure that no misunderstandings would occur, and in extent consolidate the credibility of this thesis. Although the intention of this study is to generate new knowledge, some of the empirical findings also confirm already existing theory, which further can strengthen the credibility of this study. To ensure transferability, further research is needed in order to investigate whether or not the findings can apply to other retailers that use in-store technology. Thus, the authors have provided a full description of the research question, research design, findings, and interpretations. Thereby, the reader should be able to judge the level of transferability. In terms of dependability, another study replicating this thesis might achieve a different result in the future, as technology is a phenomenon in an ongoing development. However, if a study would replicate this thesis as of today, where the phenomenon in-store technology would be examined using the same methods, the authors suggest the findings would be similar, although some minor variations might occur. In order to further strengthen the dependability, the authors ensure that a similar process have been used during each interview. The authors have made conscious choices during the research process and thereby, complete
objectivity is impossible to achieve. Moreover, Bell, Bryman and Harley (2019) state that complete objectivity is impossible in business research. However, in order to achieve confirmability, the authors have strived to act in good faith and not allowed personal values nor theoretical inclinations to intrude the findings to a high degree.
2.8 Research ethics
2.8.1 Ethical consideration
For a researcher it is important to reflect over the ethical considerations when collecting data for a research (Bell, Bryman, Harley 2019). The swedish council of science have four ethical demands a researcher needs to follow in a research. These are; the demand of information which means that the research should inform the participants what the research is about and what purpose the research has and what purpose the participant fulfills in the research (Vetenskapsrådet, 2002). Furthermore, there is the demand of consent, this consider that the participant have the right to decide by themselves over their participation in the research. The third demand is the demand of confidentiality. This consider the personal information of the participant. All personal information should be dealt with in such way that unauthorized people do not have access to that type of information. The fourth demand is the demand of useful claim, which means that information gathered of the participants can only be used for research purposes.
Before the interviews were held all the respondents was contacted by email with information, which has been mentioned earlier can be found as appendix 1, of how the structure of the interview looked like. Furthermore, they were informed that this thesis is written out of a educational purpose. All the respondents had the opportunity to be anonymous and it was made sure that their personal information was dealt with according to the demand of confidentiality. They also gave consent for the interviews to be recorded. After the interviews were held the respondents was given the
opportunity to read the transcribed version of the interview to make sure that the authors had understood the answers correctly.
2.8.2 Sustainable consideration
The concept of sustainability has been a major topic in the last few decades. Nowadays, it is often referred to as environmental sustainability (Kriesel, D K., 2018). This section is intended to provide a sustainable perspective of the research. Although sustainability is not a core topic of this study some sustainable factors were taken into account in the empirical data gathering. The majority of the interviews were held over Zoom or Skype which reduced the traveling distance for the researchers.
3 Literature review
The following chapter, theory which this study is based around will be presented. The chapter highlights existing theory of in-store technology, customer value, convenience, customer engagement, frontline employees, and customer experience.
The literature review is focusing on the following topics regarding in-store
technology and how it affects the perception of the customer experience: (1) In-store technology, which includes an introduction of what in-store technology is, a
description of different types of in-store technologies and how they work. (2) Customer value, which explains the concept and how to create value. (3) Convenience, which occurs when using in-store technology. (4) Customer
engagement, which is a tool for retailers to enhance the customer experience. (5) In-store technology’s impact on the frontline employees, which includes advantages and disadvantages about how the in-store technology are changing the frontline
employees work duties. (6) Customer experience and the influence of in-store technology, which includes what customers expect when they are visiting a physical store, how they perceive the in-store technology and how the in-store technology can affect the customers loyalty towards the retailer.
3.1 In-store technology
3.1.1 Introducing in-store technology
The role of technology plays a vital part in today’s retailing business; especially in the case of enhancing the customer experience when visiting a physical store (Blazquez, 2014). Even though the online shopping is growing rapidly, physical stores can utilize technology to provide a better in-store experience for the
customers. To create value for the customer beyond the traditional approaches such as working with the atmospherics and personal encounters with the staff, physical stores can install different technological tools like tablets and self-service checkouts for the customer to use.
The self-service checkouts is a technology that allows the customers to scan their products and pay for them without any help from the physical stores frontline employees (Meuter et al. 2000). The self service checkouts are common in supermarkets and fast food restaurants which provides a more convenient and efficient shopping experience for the customer (Kara & Orel, 2014). The use of tablets in a store gives the customer an opportunity to scroll through the inventory of the store and see where they can find the desired product as well as if the product is out of stock (Blazquez, 2014). Furthermore, retailers have the opportunity to choose between a number of other different technologies that has the potential to develop their business and to offer the customer an enhanced in-store experience (Grewal et al. 2019).
The development of smart shelves is a type of technology that facilitates the retailers work rather than the improving customer experience. Smart shelves can be installed
with digital price tags where the personnel in store can change the price tags with a remote instead of doing it manually (Inman & Nikolova, 2017).
Mobile applications is one feature of technology which can provide the customer a richer experience. The mobile applications can for instance give directions to a store nearby and it can provide the customer with digital coupons and other offers (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). Augmented Reality (AR) is a more advanced type of in-store technology. AR is described as a digitally enhanced view which can support the customers decision-making process (Heller et al. 2019). One type of AR technology is the virtual mirror. The virtual mirror have many features, for instance, it provides images on clothes where the customer can try them without putting them on, which gives the customers a more convenient and richer shopping experience (Hye-Young et al. 2016).
These kind of services are making retailers products more accessible and are changing the customers shopping experience (Blazquez, 2014). With the digital development and the rise of expectations from customers, the retailers should be aware that their physical stores need to deliver a high level of service towards the customers. According to Blazquez (2014), technology is a key factor for the integration between channels and the use of technology can be the difference for a retailer to be successful or not. Although technology can provide a better customer experience, it can also serve a purpose for the frontline employees in helping them with some of their working duties (Inman & Nikolova, 2017).
3.1.2 What in-store technology can offer retailers
Retailers implement in-store technology to make the shopping experience more favorable (Grewal et al. 2019). In order to accomplish this, retailers must carefully think about what features create pleasure. Grewal et al. (2019) suggests that pleasure can be achieved by using technologies that make the customer experience convenient and socially engaging. Convenience in this context refers to reduced waiting time and the amount of effort consumers have to put in when buying or using products and services. Consumers tend to be more favorable to the shopping experience when they spend as less time and effort in each area as possible (Grewal et al. 2019). In general, people are more socially connected than ever before and consumers seek for social engagement when using interactive platforms. In-store technology can be used to create a feeling of social presence. Social presence occur when a product or situation create a feeling of another human being present. However, this feeling can be triggered without having a person being physically present. For instance,
handwritten typefaces and AI technology such as virtual assistants are examples of technological solutions that trigger such feeling (van Doorn et al. 2017; Schroll et al. 2018).
A simple feature such as offering the customers free Wi-Fi in the physical store can provide more convenience for the customer and it enables the customer to be more
independent when shopping (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). The development of smart shelves is one type of in-store technology that facilitates the store personnel’s work in several aspects (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). The smart shelves are installed with a mat on top that sense how much weight there is on the shelf, and when the last item on the shelf is taken it notifies the staff that the product is out of stock. Moreover, the smart shelves is installed with digital price tags. With digital price tags retailers can change the prices through a remote instead of doing it one by one with a small piece of paper. Thereby digital price tags save both time and costs in terms of paper for the retailers (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). Another benefit of using the digital price tags is that it enables retailers to change the price on products more dynamically. For
instance, a grocery store with an own bakery will have the possibility of changing the price during the day. A bakery might have multiple perishable goods that they cannot store to the next day, and with the use of the digital price tags they can lower the price of these products later that day to sell out these products (Inman & Nikolova, 2017).
The rapid increase of smart technology has given retailers new tools to develop their businesses and the opportunity to offer their customers new innovative ways to shop (Hye-Young et al. 2016). Several retailers within the apparel industry has come a long way regarding the in-store technology, specifically the use of augmented reality in the physical stores. Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that provides
information in form of sounds and images to a real world situation (Chan-Yun, Sukki, & Tae-Hyun, 2016). Applications like the social interactive dressing room, the radio frequency identification music tag and the virtual mirror are all examples of how retailers have developed their businesses in a more technological way. The radio frequency identification music tag works in such way that the garment has a small tag which are connected to a song. It provides an opportunity for the retailer to play music when the customer tries clothes to affect the mood in a positive way by
playing music that are matching the style of the clothes (Hye-Young et al. 2016). The virtual mirror as well as the social interactive dressing room provides the customer an interactive way of shopping. The virtual mirror is a digital mirror where
customers are provided with images of clothes on their bodies without actually putting them on. It is a new innovative way of trying clothes which offers more convenience as it requires less effort from the customer. Moreover, the social
interactive dressing room is similar to the virtual mirror but a bit more advanced. The social interactive dressing room is a digital display installed in the dressing room. It often includes cameras, a mirror and a tablet or computer with touchscreen where the customer can browse and try on clothes from the company’s online website.
Furthermore, the customer can login to social media platforms to chat with their friends and show them the clothes they try on (Hye-Young et al. 2016). The social interactive dressing room can thereby also create a feeling of social presence. The technological revolution in retail industry has changed the social presence in the physical store (Grewal et al. 2019). Some of the retailers seize this opportunity and bring the new technologies that are available to their stores. As the in-store
technology has become a part of a consumer’s journey, this can both enhance the retailers operations and how the consumers experience their service. With the right technologies they can be used as important touch points and help the frontline employees. The use of technologies can change shopping experience and make it more convenient. Consumers expect that the retailers of today offer what is called an integrated omni-channel. One feature of the omni-channel is for instance when the consumer can order at home and pick it up in the store. At the same time, consumers also expect that most stores use themselves of in-store technology. Some retailers have noticed this has therefore implemented this into some of their stores. For instance, Amazon Go stores use themselves of in-store technology where the
consumers do not need to use a check-out (Grewal et al. 2019). Instead, with the help of AI and cameras, the consumer will make the purchase at the same time as they pick up the item from the shelf. Another retailer that also use themselves of in-store technology is H&M. Within their store in New York City they use interactive voice mirrors, where the mirrors wake up when consumers look at them and offer different style advice, discounts and take selfies. Grewal et al. (2019) looked at different types of futuristic in-store technology and how it performed when it comes to convenience and social presence. The conclusion was that in-store technology can be a game changer. Retailers should prioritize their investment towards in-store technology, which in the end can give them higher sales. To be able to do this, the retailer should explore and look at in-store technology that delivers as high convenience and social presence as possible.
3.1.3 Mobile applications
Many retailers have developed mobile apps to integrate smartphone usage to the store (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). However, these apps differ between retailers when it comes to capability. Some apps are quite basic and generally offer directions to closest store, downloadable coupons and the ability to see the weekly offers. Others are more advance offering an omni-channel experience. For instance, the American retailer Target has developed an app which customers can use to scan products to find out if there are any offers available (Inman & Nikolova, 2017). Moreover, the app provides customers with coupons as they progress through the store. Customers can also find store maps for every Target store which help them find the product they search for. Furthermore, items can be bought online via the app. When browsing through user reviews, the apps which receive the best reviews have a common theme; the app have the ability to display offers, provide in-store alerts and offer a seamless switch between pc and smartphone (Gray 2015). According to a study made by Forrester (2015) consumers in U.S. utilize their smartphone to shop in an anytime and anywhere fashion and retailers are working to be able to engage with them during these touch points. Nonetheless, retailers are struggling to convince their customers to download their apps, as they strive to rely the apps they already have installed on their phone (Imam & Nikolova, 2017). From a consumer point of view they would prefer an app that is integrated with several retailers, in which they can search across them all and use it to buy directly via the app without a redirection to