The Evolving Retailing Landscape


Consumer Response, Special issue of JACR; Proposal deadline 1 Mar 2017

JACR Special Issue on
Consumer Response to the Evolving Retailing Landscape


Barbara E. Kahn, University of Pennsylvania
Jeff Inman, University of Pittsburgh
Peter C. Verhoef, University of Groningen

Call for Papers

The retailing landscape is undergoing drastic change. Consumers are moving away from department stores and towards specialty retailers, new online players, and web-based retailing platforms (e.g., Amazon,, Alibaba). Brands are moving away from the wholesale model towards marketing and selling directly to the end user, either online or through physical stores (e.g., Nike stores, P&G’s Additionally, traditional shopping models are being "disrupted" by new retailers. For example, physical stores are becoming showrooms with all purchase being made online (e.g., Bonobos) new monthly subscription models are changing consumer shopping patterns (e.g., Birchbox), and consumers are increasingly willing to rent rather than buy (e.g., ZipCar, Rent-the-Runway). Further, new retailers are disrupting traditional business by changing the traditional retailing assumptions (e.g., Warby Parker, Casper) and many retailers are implementing radical new technologies (e.g., geo-tracking, ibeacons, smart dressing rooms, mobile coupons).

Consumer shopping and buying behavior is evolving as well. More purchases are being made online. Consumers are more channel agnostic, easily moving back and forth between online and offline, with much of the connection between the environments through the mobile phone. The mobile phone itself has become a genuine shopping environment. Consumers use their smartphone not only to search for information, but to find special deals, interact with friends or bloggers, and make purchases.

All of these disruptions in the retail environment have potentially profound effects on consumers’ "decision journey." One of the top priorities in the Marketing Science Institute’s 2016-2018 Research Priorities focuses on “Making Sense of Changing Decision Processes,” specifically, “Consumers are now engaging with firms through complex journeys and paths to purchase and beyond. What are the opportunities for firms to (somehow) insert themselves–or their product or service–into the consumer decision process at the right time and in the right context to have an influence?”

In this special issue, we explore these shifts in shopper behavior. Some areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Changes in consumer shopping patterns and decision journeys
  • The effect of shopper states (need states, motivational state, mindset, goals, etc.) on shopping behavior and choice
  • Understanding the omnichannel (integrating all channels seamlessly) shopping experience
  • The role of smartphones in the shopping experience
  • Impact of social media/social shopping
  • Cross-channel integration
  • Shopping trips in an omni-channel environment
  • Locking in the browsing consumer–shifting from browsing to buying
  • Consumer reactions to new retail technology (e.g., privacy concerns, importance of technology vs. human interaction)
  • Within- and cross-channel strategies to encourage loyalty, increase basket size and boost WOM
  • Changing role of branding
  • Innovations in promotions and pricing (e.g., surge pricing)
  • Purchase planning, mental budgets for time and money
  • Interventions for encouraging shopper utility and welfare (e.g., healthier choices)
  • Consumers’ responses to design strategies in new retailing models (online/offline)
  • Optimizing perceived variety of assortments: When is too much too much? What is the role of curation?
  • Maximizing the sensory shopping experience: How do sensory elements (design, smells, touch, sounds, taste) affect consumer perceptions in an omni-channel environment?

Research employing field studies, field experiments, and secondary data (e.g., loyalty card data) is particularly welcome. Priority will be given to papers with at least one study with a consequential dependent variable (i.e., incentive-compatible study design).

Researchers interested in submitting to this special issue are invited to a conference at the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on Thur-Fri, June 22-23, 2017. Hotel rooms can be booked at a special conference rate at The Inn at Penn (a Hilton hotel), which is only a couple of blocks from the conference location. Here is the link to receive the special rate:

The purpose of the conference will be to share ideas and encourage constructive review. In addition to academics, we will invite several industry thought-leaders to provide their perspective. The conference will be a mixture of keynote presentations and group interactions. If you wish to attend, please submit a one-page description of your planned JACR submission, along with the name of your institution, academic title and contact information to Barbara Kahn, The deadline for submission to the conference is March 1, 2017. The Baker Retailing Center will generously fund the conference registration and meals for the event; researchers will only be responsible for their travel and hotel. The Marketing Science Institute and AMA’s Consumer Behavior’s special interest group will co-sponsor the event.


Papers should not exceed 10,000 words. Submissions will receive double-blind peer review. Author guidelines may be found at the JACR home page, Authors who would like the editors to provide feedback to a potential project are encouraged to contact any of the editors at,, or


  • Conference proposal submission March 1, 2017
  • Conference June 22-23, 2017
  • Deadline for initial manuscript submission September 1, 2017
  • Deadline for submission of final manuscripts June 1, 2018
  • Publication September 1, 2018