The past, present, and future of retail analytics: Insights from a survey of academic research and interviews with practitioners

Robert Rooderkerk, Nicole DeHoratius, Andrés Musalem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We document the evolution of academic research through a bibliometric analysis of 123 retail analytics articles published in top operations management journals from 2000 to 2020. We isolate nine decision areas via manual coding that we verify using automated text analysis (topic modeling). We track variation across decision areas and method-usage evolution per analytics type, featuring the degree to which big data (e.g., clickstream, social media, product reviews) and analytics suited for these new data sources (e.g., machine learning) are used. Our analysis reveals a rapidly growing field that is evolving in terms of content (decisions, retail sector), data, and methodology. To determine the state of practice, we interviewed global practitioners on the current use of retail analytics. These interviews shed light on the barriers and enablers of adopting advanced analytics in retail. They also highlight what sets companies on the frontier (e.g., Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart) apart from the rest. Combining the insights from our survey of academic research and interviews with practitioners, we provide directions for future academic research that take advantage of the availability of big data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3727-3748
Number of pages22
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully recognize the excellent research assistance of Yvanca de Graaf. We also thank participants of the 2020 Annual EURO Working Group on Retail Operations, the 2021 Annual KÜMPEM conference, and the 2022 MSOM conference. We are indebted to our panel of industry experts, as well as to Marshall Fisher, Ananth Raman and Anna Sheen for providing access to members of the Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing (COER). In addition, we would like to thank Sebastian Gabel for constructive comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Andrés Musalem acknowledges partial funding from ANID AFB180003 and from ANID Fondecyt 1221554.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Production and Operations Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Production and Operations Management Society.


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