Most brick-and-mortar shops have been increasingly impacted by the adverse effects of changing customer behaviour and online competition in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further amplified this development. Consumers are expected to keep buying products online once the situation has returned to normal, forcing retailers to respond to the growing demand for remote shopping.
However, SME retailers may lack the necessary resources and knowledge to deliver their services online and successfully compete with potentially larger and more experienced players. Some SME retailers did manage to service their customers online during the COVID-19 pandemic through the innovative use of video calls, live streams and augmented reality. These technologies allow SME retailers to provide their customers with enhanced, personalised shopping experiences and services, regardless of their location. This could strengthen SME retailers’ ability to distinguish themselves and compete more effectively while meeting the expected rise in consumer demand for remote shopping.
However, we still lack applied knowledge on the effective use of remote shopping solutions. This research project aims to identify such solutions, ultimately resulting in a step-by-step plan that enables retailers to provide effective remote shopping experiences. The results of the project will be presented in a report and several professional publications.
The project, which is being funded by the Netherlands Institute for Applied Research (SIA), is a collaboration between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ Centre for Market Insights (coordinator), TMO Fashion Business School, the Saxion Regional Development research group and four retailers (Chase Concept Store, DroomHout, Kees Smit Tuinmeubelen and MeubelBaas). The Retail Innovation professorship platform’s Customer Experience & In-Store Technology work group will act as an advisory board.