Consumer research, retailers and robots

Don E. Schultz*, Martin Block

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-184
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Consumer purchase
  • Consumer search
  • Intelligent agents
  • Retail robots
  • Retail technologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Management Information Systems
  • Business and International Management

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