Keywords: interactive technology, diffusion, consumer behaviour, retail applications, Delphi study
The diffusion of interactive technology at the customer interface
The pace of retail change has recently been accelerated by developments in technology. Multimedia and virtual reality - the "interactive technologies" - in particular, provide retailers with new productivity tools that have the potential to deliver competitive advantage. One of the areas of greatest retailer interest has been within the consumer durable and DIY sectors, which provide the focus of this research. This research obtains the expected future rate of the diffusion of interactive technology at the customer interface in the DIY, fitted furniture, brown and white goods sectors, using a modified Delphic poll and a forecasting procedure derived from an expanded version of the Bass model. Although the three expert types polled - academics, retailers and technology providers - did not concur completely, there was agreement that the diffusion of such technologies is imminent, and that the elements under consideration play an important role in these forecasts, as well as the type of panellist providing the predictions. Managerial implications of the forecasts are discussed, and the merit of the forecasting technique developed is explored.