The POMS 2024 conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, witnessed a compelling presentation by Dr. Sreedevi Rajagopalan, a postdoctoral researcher at the MIT LIFT Lab, in collaboration with PhD candidate Fabio Castro and Dr. Josué Velázquez Martínez. Their collaborative research focused on “Technology adoption among micro-retailers – An investigation in an emerging market,” aiming to address the challenges and opportunities surrounding digitization in micro-retail environments.

Dr. Rajagopalan emphasized the potential of digitization in mitigating challenges faced by micro-retailers, yet highlighted the prevalent hesitance or slow adoption of technologies within this sector. She posed a critical question: What type of micro-retailers should digital service providers, suppliers, governments, and NGOs target when introducing new technologies? Her objective is clear: to design targeted interventions, including technology tools and training programs, based on their research findings.

At the heart of their investigation are three fundamental research questions:

  • What are the drivers of internal and external focused technology adoption among micro-retailers?
  • Does internal-focused technology adoption lead to technology-driven supply chain practices?
  • What is the impact of internal and external technology adoption on sales and sales growth?

Drawing from extensive field observations encompassing over 10,000 micro-retailers across 13 cities in Mexico, Dr. Rajagopalan’s research unveiled several drivers of both external and internal focused technology adoption. These findings contribute significantly to addressing the research gap in understanding the drivers and outcomes of technology adoption, as well as delineating various types of technology adoption within the micro-retail sector.

The insights gleaned from this research hold immense potential for informing policy interventions, business strategies, and technological innovations aimed at empowering micro-retailers and fostering sustainable growth in emerging markets. By bridging the digital divide and facilitating technology adoption, Dr. Rajagopalan and her collaborators pave the way for inclusive economic development and enhanced resilience in micro-retail ecosystems.

As we navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of digital transformation, it is imperative to heed the lessons learned from research initiatives like these, leveraging technology as a catalyst for positive change and equitable progress.

We would like to thank Tecmilenio and Monterrey Tech for helping Dr. Rajagolapan and her collaborators. Among the various forms in which they showed support for this research, their efforts to assist in the data collection process made a critical impact.