To read this content please select one of the options below:

Factors influencing technology adoption amongst small retailers: insights from thematic analysis

Rajesh K. Aithal (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India)
Vikram Choudhary (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India)
Harshit Maurya (Department of Marketing, International Management Institute, New Delhi, India)
Debasis Pradhan (Department of Marketing, XLRI, Jamshedpur, India)
Dev Narayan Sarkar (Department of Marketing, PepsiCo India, Kolkata, India)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 7 September 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




The present study aims to understand small retailers' current use of various low-cost technologies and the factors responsible for small retailers' adoption. Furthermore, these factors of adoption were mapped back to beliefs within the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), and an attempt was made to understand if some of the beliefs dominated over the others and their implications.


The study takes a qualitative approach comprising in-depth semi-structured interviews and direct observation. The qualitative data were analysed through a thematic analysis to identify technology adoption factors.


Amongst the various technologies (mobile apps), payment and procurement apps were the most widely used. The authors identified eight factors influencing technology adoption: the top being customer demand for payment apps and convenience and cost-saving for procurement apps. The study also highlights the role of the dominant beliefs in technology adoption, which managers could use to improve adoption rates.

Research limitations/implications

The current study is a cross-sectional study and the sample was predominantly of grocery retailers, limiting the generalisability of the results.

Social implications

Small retailers face stiff competition from organised retail and e-commerce platforms which threatens small retailers' existence. Small retailers' survival is vital as many people depend on the small retail sector for livelihood. Increased use of technology seems the only way for them to stay competitive and increase profitability. The study's outcome could help increase technology adoption amongst small retailers and increase small retailers' competitiveness.


Despite the widespread presence of small retailers in emerging economies, few studies have examined technology adoption amongst them. This study is also the first to use the TPB theory in the small retailer technology adoption context.



Declaration of interest: none

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Aithal, R.K., Choudhary, V., Maurya, H., Pradhan, D. and Sarkar, D.N. (2023), "Factors influencing technology adoption amongst small retailers: insights from thematic analysis", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 51 No. 1, pp. 81-102.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles