Darek Haftor

Researchers to help European retailers counter the competition from global e-business

The Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business at Linnaeus University will partake in a new, EU financed project to pioneer the digital future for omnichannel retailers competing with global actors like Amazon and eBay.

The retail sector is one of the key pillars of the European economy, accounting for 15 per cent of employment and 11 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) according to a report produced by the University of Oxford. However, European high street and online retailers face a competitive threat posed by foreign global players such as Amazon and eBay.

This challenge is the focus of a new research program, funded by the European Union's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks with 3.8 million Euro and entitled Pioneer the Digital Future for Omnichannel Retailers or, in short, PERFORM. "Omnichannel" refers to how customers can access a retailer through various channels, both digital and physical, so that a synchronized and desired customer experience is generated. The lack of local physical presence may be a disadvantage for e.g. Amazon compared to omnichannel retailers.

The four-year PERFORM project will start in the beginning of 2018 and will be operated by a consortium of five European universities and several partner companies. The goal of the project is to understand the challenges and success factors of retailing mediated by omnichannels. As part of the project, 15 doctoral students will be recruited that will be rotated between the participating universities.

One of the partner universities is Linnaeus University with the research group Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business (GBC). GBC is an externally founded group, located at the Department of Informatics, bringing together researchers from various disciplines that address the question of how the use of digital economies may give rise to economic value.

– At Linnaeus University, we will particularly focus on how the use of multiple channels for commerce may enable the emergence of new business models. This will complement the other universities that provide knowledge about digital technologies as such, including Internet of Things and data analysis, says Professor Darek M Haftor, Director of GBC.

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