Retail Innovation: (In)Success Factors and User's Profile-Types
Sociology ISCTE Lisboa, Portugal
The research looked to identify the reasons that lead, from the retailer side, to the implementation of the technological innovation, as well as understand the implementation process adopted. From the customer side, one tried to understand the customer's adherence to the technological innovation and degree of satisfaction. This research refers to the technological innovation concept, the diffusion of innovations models and the user's configuration problematic, focusing on the work of Actor-Network Theory authors. The research starts from the notion that innovation is born from a socio-technical network and tries to identify the actors that were involved in the retailer's implementation process, as well as the efforts made by the retailer to promote the relationship between the customer and the machines. Following the user's configuration problematic the research also looked to sustain the importance of incorporating users needs into new machines. The research explores the relationship between customer profile-type and the innovation's degree of adherence and satisfaction by using the self-completion questionnaire. The structuralized interview, applied to the technological innovation responsible, explores the implementation process. For triangulation purposes secondary data analysis and in loco observation of the self-checkout machines were also used. Results showed customer's age, gender and professional situation differentiating users and non users of the technological innovation. New investments to interest even more customers in the new machine have been identified. Some organization key characteristics were identified as good contributors to the innovative attitude. Organizations must realize that to implement an innovation successfully they have to involve some key actors, namely the future users. This will help the organizations to rapidly implement the innovation with a cost effective diffusion. Organizations should also pursue some key competencies and variables to assure an innovative attitude. This is the first retail innovation implementation research in Portugal. This constitutes a starting point to further research in this field that looks to help organizations in their innovation projects.