The appification of retail settings - A case study of Pinchos & Espresso Houses
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to conceptualise the integration of designed retail applications into retail settings, through selected case studies, and to contribute to an increased understanding of what happens when the retailers try to integrate smart tools into the retail setting, by looking at retailers’ practices from the consumers’ point of view, and how do they change the interactions with service staff and servicescape. In order to achieve the aim of this thesis, through the lens of Practice Theory semi-structured interviews, physical and digital observations were selected as suitable qualitative methods to study this phenomenon. For comprehensible illustration and understanding of digital shopping, Espresso Houses and Pinchos were selected as case study materials. The mobile applications of the Espresso House and Pinchos are similar in some ways, but also different both in functions that they do provide and in ways how they are integrated into the retail settings. The paper shows that the digital shopping is distinct from the mobile and regular shopping in various ways, especially since the applications generate much more controlled shopping practices, because of the pre-determined scripts. Various of meanings of shopping practices have been identified, such as convenience, novelty, benefits, and authenticity. The applications do encourage the consumers into specific set of operations in the retail settings. Lastly, the analysis showed that the role of the employees is more and more blurry and have strongly shifted from serving role to informing role in the settings, where applications have been completely integrated.
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