Digital Transformation - Opportunities and Challenges for the Retail Industry

When: 09:00 - 10:30 I Thursday 5th September 2019

Where: Aston University I Birmingham I Room MB419

Cost: free of charge to all BAM2019 Conference attendees  


Since the emergence of the Internet in the early 1990s, digital technologies are progressively changing the business world. Retail is among the industries that are most affected by the digital revolution (Grewal et al., 2017; Inman & Nikolova, 2017; Lamberton & Stephen, 2016). The impact of digitalization on retailing revolves around the product/service portfolio offered, as well as finding new and better ways of managing relationships with customers, employees and suppliers. As such, nowadays retailers must be set upon offering e-services (Evanschitzky & Iyer, 2007; Rust & Lemon, 2001), managing social media (Laroche et al., 2013) and user generated content (Algesheimer et al., 2010; Cleveland & Bartikowski, 2018; Trusov et al., 2009), conducting mobile marketing (Grewal et al., 2016), integrating mobile devices with the physical store (Hofacker et al., 2016; Shankar & Balasubramanian, 2009), using digital assistants (Evanschitzky et al., 2015; Keeling et al., 2013) and virtual-/ augmented-reality tools (Flavián et al., 2018; Suh & Lee, 2005), as well as considering the Internet of Things, robots and drones (Ng & Wakenshaw, 2017; Wirtz et al., 2018), and machine learning and artificial intelligence (Martínez-López & Casillas, 2013; Van Doorn et al., 2017). The digital revolution also accelerates globalization. 

Digital technologies, the Internet in particular, enable even the smallest companies to benefit from global procurement and seek new customers from abroad (Lituchy & Rail, 2000; Prasad et al., 2001). For many retailers increasing digitalization therefore involves a range of culturally sensitive tasks such as the need to understand cross-cultural online buying behaviour (Mazaheri et al., 2014; Park & Jun, 2003), or adapting online stores to the expectations of culturally different audiences (Bartikowski & Singh, 2014; Bartikowski et al., 2016; Luna et al., 2002).  

The increased deployment of digital technologies creates new opportunities and challenges that force retailers to review and transform established practices. We define digital transformation as the process of digitalization of previously analogue (service) operations, procedures, organizational tasks, and managerial processes in order to drive value for customers, employees and other stakeholders, with a view to gaining competitive advantages. Digital transformation requires a re-evaluation of business models by evaluating whether old processes, products or services are necessary or not and if new digital options and alternatives could replace them.  

The purpose of this  event during the British Academy of Management Conference 2019 at Aston is to start a discussions among researchers and managers from the fields of marketing, management and supply chain management that focus on the opportunities and challenges of the digital transformation for the retail industry. The event is organised as a round table discussion that consists of 5-6 impulse presentation (10 minutes each) to shine a different light on the topic of digital transformation.


Professor Heiner Evanschitsky, Aston Business School, Professor Boris Bartikowski; Kedge Business School, France; Professor Tim Baines, Aston Business School, UK; Professor Thomas Rudolph, University of St Gallen, Switzerland; Professor Olivia Petit, Kedge Business School, France; Professor Christian Brock, University of Rostock, Germany [TBC]


  • The challenges of digital transformation for retail marketing-management 
  • Digital Transformation in Supply Chain Management 
  • Digital Business Models in Servitization
  • Customer Journey and Omni Channel Management OR Managing Retail Transformation in Disruptive Times 
  • Digitization of Customer Sensory Experience 
  • Robots/AI in (Retail) Service Encounters

Credit - image by Eddie Kopp