Special Issue in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services

28th RARCS Conference
Special Session ‘Robots and AI in Retailing and Consumer Services’

Editors: S. Rasouli & H. Timmermans

Deadline (1-p. abstract): 10 November 2020
Deadline (full manuscript): 1 February 2021

The organizers of the special session ‘Robots and AI in Retailing and Consumer Services’ during the upcoming 28th RARCS (Recent Advanced in Retailing and Consumer Services) conference would like to invite you to consider to submit some of your research.

The conference is held annually, but last year’s edition was postponed due to corona. This year’s edition will take place from 12-15 July 2021 in Baveno, Italy. The organizing committee consists of the editors of the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Prof. dr. Harry Timmermans and Prof. dr. Soora Rasouli, who are both also driving EIRASS (European Institute for Retailing and Services Studies).

Apart from the general call for abstracts (see underneath), we particularly host a special track on ‘Robots and AI in Retailing and Consumer Services’. If you have any research in the pipeline or ready to submit, we would very much welcome your submission.

We also are working on a special issue with the best conference track papers to be published in Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services as well. Below, you find more details.

Special Session at the 28th RARCS

Recent Advanced in Retailing and Consumer Services Conference
It is our pleasure to invite your to our 2021 conference, which will take place at Lago Maggiore in Italy. If you did not participate before, the aim of the conference is to bring together scholars from various disciplines and countries interested in retailing and consumer services. In the past, the conference has attracted scholars from disciplines such as marketing, psychology, urban planning, transportation, management, geography etc. from more than 30 countries. The conference gives delegates the opportunity to present both completed projects and work in progress. You may also wish to consider organizing a special session that may be published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

If you consider to present your research in our special track at the conference, please provide us as soon as possible an expression of interest including the title and the authors.
In case your work was included in the special track planned last year, please do confirm whether you want to participate this year and with the same work or not.
Subsequently we expect to receive a one-page abstract by November 10th. The authors also need to notify us who will attend the conference upon acceptance. You may send this by email to [email protected] You will get a notification of acceptance by November 15th.

Topic Special Track
Digitalization in retailing and consumer services is steadily breaking ground. Both in the back- and in the front-end of servicing the customer, digital innovation can optimize the consumer experience while also allowing the company to reap the rewards of its investments. Bricks-and-mortar retailing is infused ever more with digital interfaces like service kiosks and (humanoid) service robots. While this is tangible and visible to the public, it are actually foremost the online retailers who pioneered by implementing robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine-learning – although rather in the back-end of their service provision process. The digital and physical are ever more converging, and the special track welcomes research in both domains (or their mix). All kinds of high-quality research are welcome: conceptual or empirical, qualitative and/or quantitative, exploratory and/or conclusive.

Suggested Topics
Papers on any topic relevant to progress in retailing and consumer services (tourism, recreation, banking, aspects of transportation, etc.) are welcome. Topics of special interest include:
– consumer behaviour
– business strategy
– new technology
– franchising
– service quality
– food retailing and marketing
– location-based services
– merchandising, pricing, advertising
– salesforce management
– omni-channel retailing
– distribution channels
– logistics
– segmentation
– methodological advances
– service branding
– social media

Conference Program and Venue
The conference takes place from 12-15 July.
The conference will start with registration on the afternoon of July 12, followed by a welcome reception. Sessions will start on July 13 and continue until noon July 15.
1249 Euros before February 1, 2021; 1598 Euros after this date. The package includes participation, documentation, proceedings, book of abstracts, three nights of deluxe accommodation (arrival: July 12th – departure: July 15th, 2021), breakfast buffet, tea and coffee breaks, 2 lunches, reception, conference dinner, all taxes, including tourism tax, and service charges. Spouses and family can stay for an extra charge. Pre and post-conference rooms are available at discounted rates, subject to availability. It is advisable to inform us if you need any pre-or post-conference nights when submitting the abstract to avoid disappointment. The sooner we know, the more likely we can arrange a larger room block.
Baveno is a very scenic village at Lago Maggiore with beautiful nature and several tourist attractions. It is an ideal location for day trips to Switzerland and Milan.

All 1 page abstracts will be included in a Book of Abstracts, made available in electronic format. In addition, participants are stimulated to submit full papers or a 6-8 pages extended abstract (=core of a paper but less reflection and discussion of implications) that will be included in the conference proceedings, made available on a memory stick. We do not ask for any transfer of copyrights; authors can still submit their paper to journals for publication.
You are invited to organize a special session. Proposals should include: (a) a short description of the proposed session; (b) a list of speakers, who committed to participate; (c) one-page abstracts of all papers. Sessions are typically organized in blocks of 5-7 presentations. We entertain you act as guest editor for a special issue in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, subject to positive reviews and quality standards.
We plan to notify delegates by December 1, 2020 about the outcome of the review process. Delegates are expected to arrange their registration and conference fees before February 1, 2021 to guarantee accommodation/reduced room prices. Note that July is high season in Baveno and early registration helps us better managing the conference.
Submitted papers compete for the Elsevier Most Innovative Paper Award.

Special Issue in JRCS

We aim to take the special track submissions a step further, into a special issue/special section in the related Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (SSCI 2019 = 4.219). If you would like your work to be considered for potential publication in full-text in this venue, please provide us with your full manuscript, ultimately by February 1st 2021 (sooner submissions will get processed and enter the review process as soon as they come in, in order not to delay the review and publishing process – we aim to spread the publication over 2-3 sections based on the timing and number of submissions). Please adhere to the journal’s author guidelines. You may send your submission by email to [email protected] All submissions will undergo a peer review in line with the journal’s policy.

Soora Rasouli & Harry Timmermans
Co-chairs and co-editors Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
E-mail: [email protected]