The dark side of retailers regarding digital growth strategies: an exploratory study on augmented reality perception

  • Francesca Serravalle
  • Milena Viassone
  • Regine Vanheems
Keywords: augmented reality; immersive technologies; retailing; perception; digital strategies; growth


Purpose of the paper: The present paper aims to investigate retailers’ perception of immersive technology (e.g. augmented reality) to create new growth strategies to expand and internationalize business.

Methodology: This study adopts a qualitative approach, based on a multi-case study methodology. Nine Italian SMEs operating in the furniture and interior design sector were interviewed. After transcribing and translating the interviews, they were coded using an inductive approach.

Results: This study shows that Italian SMEs still have little exposure to the knowledge of technologies, and thus a higher resistance to adopting digital growth strategies in their business.

Research limitations: This study is exploratory in nature and based on a sample of nine SMEs in the Italian cultural context. Therefore, further research could extend our findings, by carrying out a cross-cultural analysis in comparison with other countries.

Practical implications: This study highlights the importance for SMEs to understand and introduce digital growth strategies to create competitive advantages on the market and an enhanced experience for consumers. Using technologies, SMEs should be able to maintain a growth orientation with a high level of networking with international corporations to be more flexible towards market advancements and changes.

Originality of the paper: This paper provides an original view on retailers’ perception of immersive technologies to create digital growth for SMEs, by highlighting some new challenges that SMEs must face to successfully compete in a digital scenario.


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