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BEST in Retail – Business model innovation & ecosystems for seamless transactions in retail

Retail is undergoing major changes driven by advances in digital technology, changes in competition, and new patterns of consumer behaviour. There is substantial potential for innovation in the intersection of the current availability of physical stores and new capabilities of digital technology. To realize this, new knowledge is needed on business models, digital ecosystems of providers, and efficient use of data for improving customer experience.

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With nearly 400,000 employees and close to 2,000 billion NOK annual turnover, retail is an important commercial sector. The retail sector is rapidly changing. New actors and competition from abroad impacts retailers as well as other actors in the retail value chain such as finance and logistics. Digitalization represents a range of new opportunities, in the form of new customer interactions, new constellations of service providers, and new business models. Furthermore, customer patterns of use are changing, in part motivated by the social distancing and restrictions during the covid pandemic.

We will establish the knowledge needed to exploit the potential in digitalization of retail, to strengthen Norwegian providers in their meeting with increased competition and new customer patterns of use. 

The project has three main areas of research:

(a) to understand business model innovation in retail driven by advances in digitalization,

(b) to explore digital ecosystems for the retail sector with regard to needed design, management and governance requirements for value creation and capture, and

(c) to map customer journeys and understand how to design and implement a digital infrastructure that allows for effective and efficient data capturing and analysis to secure value creation and strengthen customer experience.

SINTEFs contribution to the project concerns customer journey mapping and investigations of how to more efficiently make use of data from providers, customer, and other sources for more flexible and efficient service provision and improvements in customer experience. As part of this work, we analyse key customer journeys with the objective of identifying pain points and potential for improvement through innovative use of data across providers. On this basis, we will explore opportunities for making use of data across providers, to enable AI-powered analysis and predictions within ecosystems of providers.

Key Factors

Project duration

2021 - 2024


Research Council of Norway’s call for “Collaborative Project to Increase Research-based Innovation in Selected Service Industries”

Cooperation Partners

NHH Norwegian School of Economics (project owner), Coop, Posten, The Federation of Norwegian Enterprise (VIRKE), Finance Innovation

Project Type


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