The Robot as a Consumer: A Research Agenda
Paper presented at the “Marketing: experience and perspectives” Conference, 29-30 June 2017, University of Economics-Varna, Bulgaria
8 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017
Date Written: 2017
In search of greater productivity, efficiency, and improved competitiveness, companies from all sectors of the economy have started to adopt robots and artificial intelligence for producing products, delivering products, communicating with customers, etc. Recent technological advances made robots accessible to consumers as well (e.g. intelligent digital assistants, home cleaning robots, cooking robots, etc.). Consumer robots currently are perceived as technological products, produced by companies and sold to end consumers. However, the current and future functionalities of home robots (will) allow them to search, filter, select and purchase various products and services on behalf of their owners. This means that they (will) interfere in the consumer behaviour of their owners by determining the options their owners can choose from. This raises the question whether it is the robot or its owner who makes the decision for purchase. Hence, in the future, companies should target not only the customers but also their home robots who will make many of the actual purchases. Much of the political battle with regards to control will rest in the control of default settings of the algorithms in the AI controlling robots.
This paper intends contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of consumer behaviour and marketing communications by addressing the various marketing issues that arise from the adoption of home robots and setting the research agenda for their future studies.
Keywords: robots, artificial intelligence, consumer behaviour, disruptive technology
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