Technology Enabled Apparel Retail Employees
The apparel retail industry is one of the largest employers in the United States and has experienced vast changes since the first department stores appeared in the 1800s. Employment as a retail salesperson was long considered a rewarding career choice for people who enjoyed interacting with customers. However, research showed that perceptions of retail as a career choice and the satisfaction of shoppers were on the decline. Low levels of employee job satisfaction and customer service ratings for retail employees, as well as negative perceptions of retail as a career provided an opportunity for the introduction of hybrid technology interfaces. These interfaces could support employees in their work, improve customer service and provide additional experience and knowledge for purposes of retail employee career development. This study examined apparel retail employees and the factors that influenced their intention to adopt three different hybrid technology interfaces representing emerging technologies for the apparel retail industry: a body scanner, product configurator and social networking. The Technology Acceptance Model served as a theoretical framework for evaluating employees' behavioral intention to use the three emerging technologies. A laboratory setting with examples of the three technologies was used to test apparel retail employee reactions and data were collected using a questionnaire. The results showed that the usefulness of the technology was a main influence on behavioral intention for all three types. Conceptual frameworks based on the Experience Economy and the retail store as a theater space for staging experiences, rather than services were also used to evaluate future applications of technology inside clothing stores as part of customer and employee service interactions. Participant responses to openended questions provided additional insight into the capacity of technologies to support employee work and develop skills and knowledge for future job positions. A career path for possible new job roles associated with technology adoption and a future retail store concept are presented as well as implications of study findings for retailers.
Apparel Retail Employees
dissertation or thesis