Retail Analytics and Automation of Choice

Case Study #1: Retail Analytics and Automation of Choice (e.g., through Internet of Things (IOT))

Retailing is one of the oldest human endeavor, and various civilizations–such as the Roman Empire–have organized activities to connect retailers and consumers (such as through Trajan markets) (Richard 2010). Throughout history, many technologies (such as the point-of-sale scanners or barcodes) have transformed retail. Modern technologies are catalyzing analytics and automation at unprecedented scales. For example, retailers are using such technologies as the Internet of Things (IoT) to automate their operations, influencing how retailers offer and customers choose (Gregory 2014). Many choices in retail are being automated, as smart kitchens are projected to revolutionize ordering, enabling machines (such as refrigerators) to make choices on behalf of the consumers (Yurieff 2017). Analytics is being used to offer discounts, analyze queues, send assistance within retail stores, check real-time on-shelf availability, and other retail operations. In general, contemporary computational technologies are automating many choice decision, becoming the secondary choice-makers, by aiding human (the primary choice-makers’) decision-making (Setia 2018). The case study may address one of the topics below, related to automation of choice. Specifically, the case study may:

Case Study #1 Topic Choices

Topic 1: Identify consumer choices in retail. What are the new analytics and automation technologies influencing these choices? How are retailers adapting operations, to accommodate the advent of these technologies?

Topic 2: Identify errors in choices that lead to a loss in value (such as due to return costs) for the retailer or the consumer. These errors may arise due to time constraints for human beings. For example, billions worth of gift cards goes unused every year (Tuttle 2012). How are analytics or automation based technologies enabling retailers to overcome these errors?

Topic 3: Complementing human choice makers: Identify scenarios where analytics and automation technologies are complementing human information processing and choices in retail . What are the advantages of using these technologies for retailers or consumers?

Topic 4: Substituting human choice-makers: Identify substitution of human activities through analytics and automation technologies in retail. Projects indicate computational technologies, such as drones or autonomous cars, will substitute human activities. What are the advantages to retailers or consumers, in using computational technologies that substitute their activities? Are there any negative implications of using these computational technologies?

Other topics: Participants are encouraged to find another topic (not listed here) in the domain of retail automation and analytics, for their case study. Please write to us at, to check if the topic may be appropriate for the competition.


Participants are advised to start by reading the book:

How Computational Technologies Influence Choice: A Neuroscientific Perspective Part 1. By Dr. Pankaj Setia

Accessible at

Please write to for a free copy!

Other Rules

  • The project submissions must entirely be the work of the individual or the project team. While faculty and other individuals can help review the submission, they should not contribute to the content of the report or the solution.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered, so make sure you have all of your submission deliverables in the submission package.
  • The contest materials must be submitted by the due dates. Late submissions will not be accepted and no extensions will be given.
  • For participating in the second stage of competition, teams and individuals must be members of an AIS Student Chapter.

General Information

  • Submission Instructions

    What you should submit

    • A case study file will be submitted as a Word document: The case study is expected to have various figures and graphics (See the resources for creating infographics and case study). Refer to the Resources section for access to resources for creating info graphics and case studies.
    • Participants are encouraged to use data to present tables, to present their arguments. (See the resources for data and visualization).Refer to the Resources section for access to resources for data and visualization.
    • The Word file should be between 5-15 pages long (not including references or appendix).
    • The file should specify the names of the participants as well as the topic chosen. See the details of the topics and more resources about the topic at computational society resource pages
    • A cover letter in the format found at

    How you should submit

    • Inform about the intent to participate in the competition as soon as possible by writing to
    • Register after you are provided access to the website (you will receive this as a reply to your intent to participate request) at The membership will be upgraded to a premium membership after registration for no additional fee.
    • Email your entry to by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, March 2, 2018.

    What happens after you submit

    • You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your entry.
    • Finalists will be notified by email on or around March 12, 2018.
    • Finalists will present their work in front of the judging panel at the AIS SCLC April 12-14, 2018. The first stage winners qualify for prizes, certificates, membership, and publication opportunities from The Computational Society. Visit or contact for details.
  • Timeline

    • All preliminary submissions must be received no later than March 2, 2018
    • Finalists will be announced on or around March 12, 2018
    • The winner will be revealed at the Student Chapters Leadership Conference between April 12-14, 2018
  • Prizes

    Entrants to the 2018 Computational Society Case Challenge will be competing with AIS and non-AIS student chapter teams and individuals across the globe. The top AIS-affiliated teams and individuals from Stage 1 of the competition will move forward to compete at the 2018 AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference in Dallas April 12 – 14. Stage 2 is exclusively for AIS student chapter teams and individuals* selected as finalist in Stage 1. AIS Stage 1 finalist will then compete for in Dallas for top prizes. Submissions to all case studies are judged collectively and prizes are awarded to the top 3 cases regardless of the selected case scenario: (1) Retail Analytics and Automation of Choice, or (2) Analytics to Unravel Individual Choice, or (3) Computational technologies and well-being!

    Stage 1

    First place – $500
    Second place – $300
    Third place – $200

    Stage 2

    First place – $2,000
    Second place – $1,000
    Third place – $500

    NOTE: The first stage cash awards are given independent of the second stage. That is, a student can win a cash award in the first as well as the second stage.

    Other Prizes

    • Certificates: All participants are given certification for completion if their entry is accepted to be evaluated. The top five submissions are given certificates indicating their rank.
    • Premium Membership: The first five finalists of stage 1 and the top 3 participants of stage 2 will get an additional premium membership.

    *To compete as an AIS team or individual, you must be an officially recognized chapter or a member of an officially recognized chapter. Forming an AIS Student Chapter at your institution is easy, but can take as much 6-8 weeks to complete the process depending on your university policy and procedures so get started today. For more information on how you can start a chapter, contact Dr. Rhonda Syler, AIS Vice President for Student Chapters, at


References (also see more under the case 1 on the[1]):

Gregory, Jonathan. 2014. “The Internet of Things: Revolutionizing the Retail Industry.” 2014.

Richard, Carl J. 2010. Why We’re All Romans: The Roman Contribution to the Western World. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Tuttle, Brad. 2012. “$2 Billion of Unredeemed Gift Cards Go Unused in 2012 | TIME.Com.” 2012.

Yurieff, Kaya. 2017. “In the Future, Your Kitchen Will Think for Itself.” 2017. [1] For access, write to

Additional Resources

  • Please visit the competition page on The Computational Society ( for more details about the challenges.

How to Get and Process Data

Creating Maps

Visualization and Infographic tools resources

You may access some tutorials from to do the case study


How entries will be evaluated

All entries will be evaluated by the judges on two major criteria: content and presentation. Judges will evaluate the case studies based on the following:

  • Clarity (how well the case study explains the topic)
  • Novelty/creativity (originality of thought)
  • Insight (how well the case study uses graphic aids to explain the data)
  • Utility (what is the value of case study to firms or society)
  • Completeness (degree to which the case study answers the chosen topic)
  • Depth (sophistication of the logic or analysis)
  • Consistency (conclusions consistent with the logic or analysis)

The points will be awarded based on the following: 

  1. Context (explaining what phenomenon does the case study examine) (20%)
  2. Problem statement (identifying the problem) (10%)
  3. Computational technology (explaining the features and capabilities of the technology) (10%)
  4. Case dynamics (describing how the computational technology influences the context) (25%)
  5. Tables and figures (giving an in–depth view into the above topics and may include data and analysis) (20%)
  6. Conclusions (discussing the implications for society, organizations, or individuals (15%)

Your entry will be disqualified if…

  • It is submitted after the deadline.
  • The attachments won’t open or are in the wrong file format.
  • You don’t specify the chosen case study topic.
  • Team member names and college name are not on the case study.
  •  The cover letter is missing.