Psycology & Marketing, Special Issue: New horizons in customer experience: Exploring human embrace of Technologies 4.0 from a marketing perspective
The fast and inexorable advancement of technology is affecting almost every aspect of the economy and the social relationships. Technologies 4.0 such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data or cloud computing are participating actively in the management of business, the labor market and the daily activity of ordinary people. For instance, analytical AI and sophisticated algorithms based on Big Data are deciding Amazon’s product assortment on customers’ screens but also the best route for shipments, the rider that is contracted to deliver food, or the newsfeeds that a user of social media watch early in the morning. More interestingly, as proposed by Ashby Law, due to superior AI abilities (e.g. machine learning), humans are no longer understanding, deciding or controlling such complex processes; resulting in a world increasingly led by technology.
Although the impact of Technologies 4.0 is commonly thought of in sectors such as logistics, banking or tourism, their potential for marketing operations is particularly remarkable across industries. The increasing digitalization and the multiple touchpoints of the data-driven customer journey lead marketing managers rely on these technologies to better shape their customer relations. However, with the exception of human reactions towards robots, little is known about the psychological processes leading to customers and employees’ embrace of Technologies 4.0 for marketing operations. There is a need to better understand why people are more or less willing to adopt, interact with and integrate such technologies in their daily routines. For instance, smart devices include numerous sensors that collect users’ physical activity data for health, sports or insurance purposes. Smart devices can also engage customers at a social level and even to provide emotional support. Technologies 4.0 are able to combine traditional technological processes with some human features and thus create a new era of opportunities, challenges and risks for marketing. All of this deserves further research attention. In particular, there is a clear need to better address which psychological frameworks are suitable to better understand an individual’s perceptions and reactions toward these technologies. Far beyond technology adoption frameworks, theoretical approaches should focus on the psychological mechanisms determining the success or failure of human interaction with Technologies 4.0, renewing insights on social cognition, evolutionary approaches, self-other-roles, cognitive and emotional responses, information processing, risk and safety management.
Additionally, ethical issues regarding the replacement of persons by technology or the combination of both together clearly deserve further research attention. A highly intense reliance on technology may lead to a ubiquitous surveillance and even to practices of social engineering in which individuals are continuously rated at any task in their lives as citizens or customers. Algorithms are increasingly making relevant decisions in peoples’ lives (e.g. employment), but they often replicate or amplify social biases. New phenomena such as police, military and sex robots currently in service remain almost unexplored by scholars. Concepts such as metaverse, customer alienation and transhumanism (mixing human and AI) represent both threats and challenges for the development of marketing activities that should employ technology to enhance rather than harm customer experiences.
This Special Issue offers a platform to scientifically explore and discuss the growing relevance of Technologies 4.0 in business and society by better understanding the psychological factors contributing to a safe and successful embrace of these technologies by consumers. Both conceptual and empirical work concerned with a technological enhancement of customers’ experience are welcomed. Articles considered for the Special Issue may focus on topics including, but not limited to, the following research questions:
- Which features of Technologies 4.0 represent an opportunity for implementing marketing actions by managers?
- How do customers’ and employees’ perceptions and reactions toward these features differ?
- Which psychological theories are better able to explain customer embrace or rejection of Technologies 4.0?
- How do users integrate these technologies in their lives and what are the differences from previous non-smart technologies?
- How can Technologies 4.0 advancements improve brand positioning and marketing performance along the customer journey?
- How should these technologies be implemented in companies to enhance customer experience?
- What are the main challenges and opportunities of employing Technologies 4.0 in specific sectors such as retailing, frontline services or social media management?
- What influences consumers’ perception and engagement with the metaverse?
- How is technology innovation affecting the customer-provider relationship in the short and long term?
- How should companies manage Technologies 4.0 and respond to customer data privacy protection behavior?
- What are the main ethical and moral issues related to Technologies 4.0?
- What is the role of this technological transformation in promoting or demoting social equality?
Belanche, D., Casaló, L. V., Schepers, J., & Flavián, C. (2021). Examining the effects of robots’ physical appearance, warmth, and competence in frontline services: the humanness‐value‐loyalty model. Psychology & Marketing, 38(12), 2357-2376.
Belk, R. (2021). Ethical issues in service robotics and artificial intelligence. The Service Industries Journal, 41(13-14), 860-876.
Belk, R. (2022). Artificial Emotions and Love and Sex Doll Service Workers. Journal of Service Research, forthcoming.
Flavián, C., Pérez-Rueda, A., Belanche, D., & Casaló, L. V. (2021). Intention to use analytical artificial intelligence (AI) in services–the effect of technology readiness and awareness. Journal of Service Management, 33(2), 293-320.
Libai, B., Bart, Y., Gensler, S., Hofacker, C. F., Kaplan, A., Kötterheinrich, K., & Kroll, E. B. (2020). Brave new world? On AI and the management of customer relationships. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 51, 44-56.
Puntoni, S., Reczek, R. W., Giesler, M., & Botti, S. (2021). Consumers and artificial intelligence: An experiential perspective. Journal of Marketing, 85(1), 131-151.
Quach, S., Thaichon, P., Martin, K. D., Weaven, S., & Palmatier, R. W. (2022). Digital technologies: tensions in privacy and data. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, forthcoming.
Song, Y. W., Lim, H. S., & Oh, J. (2021). “We think you may like this”: An investigation of electronic commerce personalization for privacy‐conscious consumers. Psychology & Marketing, 38(10), 1723-1740.
- Russell Belk (York University; Canada) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carlos Flavián (University of Zaragoza; Spain) email@example.com
- Daniel Belanche (University of Zaragoza; Spain) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Park Thaichon (Griffith University; Australia) email@example.com
1 December 2022 (early submission will be appreciated)
To submit a manuscript, follow the manuscript submission guidelines outlined in the «Instructions for Authors» of Psychology & Marketing, be sure to select the correct Special Issue and also mention it in the letter to the editor.
Prospective authors are encouraged to participate in the preparatory conference AIRSI2022 by presenting the preliminary versions of their papers and contact the guest editors for any specific comment or question (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Consult the previous special issues of AIRSI to guide you or to inspire your proposals on the subject (Please, contact email@example.com if you are interested in any of these papers and do not have access).
Automated forms of interaction in services: current trends, benefits and challenges (Service Industries Journal)
Artificial Intelligence in Hospitality and Tourism (International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management)