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Benefits and risks associated with time choice of innovating in retail settings

Eleonora Pantano (The Business School, Middlesex University London, London, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 11 January 2016




The innovation success requires a deep understanding of risks and benefits of the process, as well as of the best moment for innovating. The purpose of this paper is to explore the current retailers’ choice of innovating in terms of being the first innovator imitating competitors’ innovations, by declining the benefits and risks associated with the both strategies.


Building on qualitative data from retail industry, with emphasis on fashion (including clothes, jewelry, and accessories), the investigation provides an empirical contribution to the emerging area on innovation management in retailing through its in-depth investigation of the strategies of eight case retailers who introduced technological innovations in the last three years, and by mapping the patterns between strategy and outcomes.


The analysis revealed how pioneers and followers acted their strategies for achieving benefits and reducing the encountered risks. In particular, findings identify to what extend pioneers act according the technology push and followers according to the demand pull.


The research starts from the definition of the time choice of innovating, and the subsequent choice of being the first innovation adopter or the imitator. The insights support scholarly exploration of innovation management by offering a new marketing management perspective, and providing practitioners with a better understanding on the time choice for innovating in retailing and also in broader empirical settings.



Pantano, E. (2016), "Benefits and risks associated with time choice of innovating in retail settings", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 58-70.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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