Retail is evolving at an accelerated rate due to changes made possible by technologies and evolving consumer behaviours. Integrating channels and the power of big data are not distinctive factors anymore but rather are prerequisites of competitiveness. Where the field goes will depend on even newer emerging forces: The Internet of things, virtual or augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robots/drones/driverless vehicles (Deloitte 2016).
Research into the Internet of things should clarify how it may influence shopping behaviour, as well as the role of frontline employees (Rafaeli et al. 2017). Smart homes are being designed with a host of smart appliances (e.g., refrigerators) that can reorder products as stocks get low. Similarly, smart cars convey relevant information to service departments and may schedule future service appointments. Thus, research needs to explore whether the Internet of things will increase consumers’ engagement with retailers, service providers, and brands or if it will reduce consumer engagement, as machines take over all the “talking” to other machines (i.e., the start of machine-to-machine commerce).