Augmented Reality Poised to Enhance, Not Replace, Retail Shopping Experience

A recent study indicates the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to reach $89 billion by 2026, signaling a significant shift in retail dynamics. With projections suggesting 75% of online shoppers will use AR technologies for shopping, major companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon are already integrating AR into their customer offerings.

This technology allows consumers to visualize products in their real-life environment, offering a more interactive and enjoyable shopping experience. Features like virtual try-ons and furniture placement in real-time settings are among the AR innovations enhancing online retail.

Despite the rapid advancement of AR, the study shows its impact on retail might be less disruptive than anticipated. Traditional shopping behaviors, including store visits and overall spending, appear to remain stable in the face of digital innovation.

For marketing undergraduates, the findings highlight the strategic importance of AR in retail. It suggests that AR can make shopping experiences more personalized and intuitive without completely overtaking traditional retail elements.

The study employs a mix of qualitative interviews and quantitative analyses, including structural equation modeling (SEM) and artificial neural network (ANN), to explore AR’s influence on consumer behavior. This comprehensive approach helps identify how AR features directly impact shopping decisions and engagement levels.

Industry giants’ active incorporation of AR points to its growing role in enriching customer shopping journeys, suggesting a future where digital and traditional retail coexist more seamlessly.

Controlling Systemic Bias in Social Science Research: The Role of Email-Based Audit Experiments

A recent article from the Chicago Booth Review discusses advancements in social science research methods, particularly in addressing systemic bias through email-based audit experiments. Traditional audit experiments, such as sending identical résumés with different names to test for discrimination, often fail to account for systemic bias.

Researchers are now utilizing emails to request assistance, which allows them to bypass visible signs of cumulative disadvantage. A notable study revealed that white male council members were more likely to respond to emails from minority students when their demographic identity was mentioned.

ChatGPT can assist in standardizing email-based audit experiments by generating consistent, unbiased email content. This ensures that variations in language or tone do not influence the results, allowing researchers to focus on measuring systemic bias more accurately. By automating the email creation process, ChatGPT can also help scale up these experiments, enabling broader and more comprehensive studies on systemic bias​.

Navigating the Digital Wave: My Take on Broadband’s Impact on Retail

Posted on January 22, 2024

As broadband internet spread, so did fears of a “Retail Apocalypse” predicting the fall of brick-and-mortar stores. In response, my working paper investigates broadband’s true effects on consumer behavior, particularly regarding consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in the U.S. from 2006 to 2016.

This research, covering a significant part of U.S. retail, analyzes changes in shopping habits amid the digital surge. I looked into brand diversity, shopping frequency, spending habits, and the offline-to-online shift.

Contrary to common beliefs, my findings highlight a minimal impact of broadband on consumer patterns. Slight declines in brand diversity and retailer variety occurred, yet overall spending and physical store visits remained stable.

Crucially, broadband’s influence on pricing strategies was minimal. An in-depth analysis of price dispersion and demand elasticity across numerous brands and categories showed little to no effect, challenging assumptions about broadband’s disruptive power.

While broadband did encourage some online shopping, it mainly increased the number of online shoppers, not the amount spent online. This indicates e-commerce’s growth is less disruptive than presumed.

Moreover, broadband’s impact differed more within than between product categories, underscoring product-specific traits in consumer behavior changes.

In sum, my research offers a nuanced view of the retail landscape in the broadband era. It contradicts the bleak retail apocalypse narrative by showing that digital connectivity, while altering some shopping behaviors, has not dramatically reshaped traditional retail, especially for CPGs. These insights are vital for retailers, marketers, and policymakers navigating digital transformation and consumer dynamics.