Going digital : Business model innovation in omni-channel retailing

Abstract: Over the last ten years, digital technologies have had immense effect on the way we live and work, on organizational forms, and on industrial trends. These effects have not left retail industries and their various actors untouched, but have rather forced them to adapt to the changing environment. At the same time, the digital age has brought new organizations that have leveraged ubiquitous Internet access and the pervasive adoption of smartphones which created new, previously non-existent mobile-based services. With these changes emerged the phenomenon of retail digitalization, a process of ongoing change through the integration of digital, primarily mobile, technologies into retailing.Although the depicted transformation offers multifaceted opportunities for advancing organizational growth, it also represents fundamental challenges to our understanding of the dynamics of organizational change, intertwined with changes at both higher (inter-organizational) and lower (intra-organizational) levels. In particular, this thesis addresses the business model innovation efforts of retailers across different industry segments, as well as those of mobile payment providers as key partners of retailers in the complex and increasingly networked empirical context. Through the exploratory case-based research, this thesis makes three contributions. The first relates to the contribution to retailing literature by employing a business model perspective to emphasize particularly important aspects of the emerging transition to omni-channel retailing that allows the customer to engage with a retailer whenever and however they wish to. These are seamless and experiential shopping as a new value proposition, the use of technology-mediated interfaces to enhance customer experience, integrated data analytics as a potential source of competitive advantage, and the importance of partnerships for successful value delivery. Secondly, this thesis contributes to the emerging discussions on the dynamics of business models by providing empirical findings of the business model innovation process. Finally, this thesis suggests that a business model should be seen as a relational aggregator at a network level, i.e. a device to explain the interconnectedness of companies in the digital age, and highlights the need for a network-oriented view of business model innovations in such an environment.