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Augmented Reality in E-Procurement: Opportunities and Challenges



Since managing E-Procurement processes via technology is considered as crucial, the exploration of contemporary technology has become a chief concern for organizations. One technology that has emerged as a relevant medium to electronically conduct business is Augmented Reality (AR). However, while AR has taken a foothold in E-Commerce, it seems that it has not yet established itself as a relevant technology in E-Procurement. Therefore, this study emphasizes current challenges that persist in E-Procurement as well as whether and how AR may be capable of addressing these challenges based on expert interviews. The results reveal several challenges pertaining to the organization, technology, and quality of E-procurement systems, for which this study provides a discourse on how AR may be used to overcome these challenges. However, whether AR diffuses in E-Procurement depends on the ability to integrate AR in existing systems, user education and flow, and the availability of virtual product replicas.
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PACIS 2022 Proceedings Paci=c Asia Conference on Information
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Augmented Reality in E-Procurement: Opportunities and Augmented Reality in E-Procurement: Opportunities and
Challenges Challenges
Jakob J. Korbel
Technische Universität Berlin
Marc Riar
Technical University of Berlin
Lukas Wiegmann
Deutsche Bahn AG
Rüdiger Zarnekow
Technische Universität Berlin
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Korbel, Jakob J.; Riar, Marc; Wiegmann, Lukas; and Zarnekow, Rüdiger, "Augmented Reality in E-
Procurement: Opportunities and Challenges" (2022).
PACIS 2022 Proceedings
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Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement:
Opportunities and Challenges
Completed Research Paper
Jakob J. Korbel
Technische Universität Berlin
Berlin, Germany
Marc Riar
Technische Universität Berlin
Berlin, Germany
Lukas Wiegmann
Deutsche Bahn AG
Berlin, Germany
Rüdiger Zarnekow
Technische Universität Berlin
Berlin, Germany
Since managing E-Procurement processes via technology is considered as crucial, the exploration
of contemporary technology has become a chief concern for organizations. One technology that
has emerged as a relevant medium to electronically conduct business is Augmented Reality (AR).
However, while AR has taken a foothold in E-Commerce, it seems that it has not yet established
itself as a relevant technology in E-Procurement. Therefore, this study emphasizes current
challenges that persist in E-Procurement as well as whether and how AR may be capable of
addressing these challenges based on expert interviews. The results reveal several challenges
pertaining to the organization, technology, and quality of E-procurement systems, for which this
study provides a discourse on how AR may be used to overcome these challenges. However,
whether AR diffuses in E-Procurement depends on the ability to integrate AR in existing systems,
user education and flow, and the availability of virtual product replicas.
Keywords: augmented reality, e-procurement, e-business, e-commerce, virtual product, usability.
Electronic procurement (E-Procurement) represents a vital process for firms, both from an operational and
strategic standpoint, since the digitization of procurement processes plays a key role in achieving tangible
benefits, such as cost reductions, as well as intangible benefits and process optimizations (e.g., Eei et al.
2012; Rajkumar 2001; Toktaş-Palut et al. 2014). Consequently, firms rely on E-Procurement systems to
exchange information with their suppliers, improve procurement processes and business performance, and,
in turn, gain competitive advantage (Ordanini and Rubera 2008; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020).
However, a precondition for these advantages to unfold is the adoption and efficient usage of E-
Procurement systems that is hindered by challenges which can concern the organizational and
environmental, as well as the technological and user context (Brandon-Jones 2017; Nandankar and Sachan
2020; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020). While the organizational and environmental context includes
challenges such as organization’s readiness (Ocloo et al. 2020) or business climate (Nandankar and Sachan
2020) that can mostly be addressed by managerial approaches, challenges in the technological context often
occur due to the IT systems in use, e.g., the lack of security, data processing capabilities or interoperability
of system components, that can be resolved by new technological approaches such as semantic databases
(Alvarez-Rodríguez et al., 2014) or advanced data analytics (Hallikas et al. 2021). The user context, however,
entails challenges that show conspicuous similarities with another discipline of electronic business (E-
Business), i.e., E-Commerce. As in E-Commerce, the quality of E-Procurement systems in terms of, e.g.,
online information, usability, and perceived risks are key factors to prevent users from rejecting the E-
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Procurement system and buy products from other suppliers, i.e., maverick buying, (Brandon-Jones 2017;
Brandon-Jones and Kauppi 2018; Rao et al. 2007) or from other E-Commerce websites respectively. One
technology that shows promising results to positively influence these factors in E-Commerce is Augmented
Reality (AR). AR enables users to superimpose virtual objects into the real environment and interact with
them based on electronic end devices. In E-Commerce, it is used, among other things, to enhance
consumers' electronic shopping experience, brand engagement and purchase intentions through interactive
product visualization as well as to reduce uncertainties about a product and to strengthen customer loyalty
(Hilken et al. 2017; Javornik et al. 2016; McLean and Wilson 2019; Pantano et al. 2017; Riar et al. 2022;
Yim et al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2019). Hence, AR is also considered as a promising technology for smart supply
chains and production environments (Tripathi and Gupta 2020a).
However, there seems to be a lack of practitioner examples as well as research that is focused on the
potential of AR to improve the processes of E-Procurement. Therefore, it is highly relevant to advance our
knowledge on how technology-mediated affordances provided by AR can contribute to resolving potential
challenges and exploit possible benefits in organizational E-Procurement practices. Hence, the objective of
this study is (1) to emphasize current challenges in E-Procurement, (2) to analyze whether AR constitutes
a technology that can address these challenges, and to identify opportunities that AR entails for E-
Procurement as well as (3) the challenges for its deployment. Since literature on AR in the specific context
of E-Procurement is sparse, this study builds upon literature on AR in the E-Commerce domain and an
explorative approach, i.e., interviews with experts from both the E-Procurement and AR domain on the
example of the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG). To achieve the research objectives, the paper is structured as
follows: In the second section, the theoretical background on challenges in E-Procurement and AR in E-
Business is described. The research design is illustrated in the third section and the results of the expert
interviews are summarized in the fourth section. In the fifth section, the discussion and conclusions are
presented, and implications are derived whereas the limitations and future research avenues are addressed
in the sixth section.
Theoretical Background
E-Procurement systems constitute E-Business platforms that allow organizations, among others, to
purchase goods, transfer payments as well as identify and collaborate with potential suppliers which in turn
can lead to higher transparency and positively effect innovation as well as costs, purchase processes, and
business performance (Naoum and Egbu 2016; Patrucco et al. 2019; Pattanayak and Punyatoya 2019;
Pearcy and Giunipero 2008; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020). However, while a variety of studies confirm
the willingness to use and wide adoption of E-Procurement systems (Gupta and Narain 2014), firms are
confronted with challenges regarding the digital procurement systems that can eventually lead to the failure
of these systems in organizations (e.g., Ordanini et al. 2004; Rajkumar 2001).
Challenges in E-Procurement
Challenges in E-Procurement occur in relation to the organizational and environmental, as well as the
technological and user context. In the organizational and environmental context, the critical success factors
for E-procurement systems mostly depend on the managerial abilities and preconditions of firms in terms
of their own organization and their collaborators, competitors as well as governmental laws and regulations
(Nandankar and Sachan 2020). Most challenges occur due to a lack of top management support and the
unreadiness of the organization, and within the negations and collaboration with suppliers and trading
partners. The former lead to situations in which the necessary leadership and resources are not available
(Ocloo et al. 2020; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020) while the latter fosters the buyers’ hesitation to use the
E-Procurement system if the collaboration is characterized by, e.g., distrust (Truong 2019). Challenges in
this context can mostly be addressed by managerial approaches. Fostering investments in E-Procurement,
supported by an education about the digital procurement system as well as including measurements and
metrics that allow for transparency in the vendor-supplier relationship can leverage the successful usage
and adoption of the E-procurement systems (Angeles and Nath 2007; Nandankar and Sachan 2020).
The major issues that can lead to the failure of E-Procurement systems, however, can be found in the
technological context in form of IT obstacles (Angeles and Nath 2007; Nandankar and Sachan 2020;
Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020). In the technological context, challenges exist in relation to the digital
procurement system itself and its integration in the existing system landscape (IT infrastructure) as well as
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Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
the quality of the E-Procurement system which is strongly interrelated with the user context. The IT
infrastructure is crucial to guarantee an expedient usage of the E-Procurement system and must be
maintained, contain standards, allow for the integration with other entities, such as the supplier system, to
exchange, e.g., product information, and provide both flexible and secure processes (Alvarez-Rodríguez et
al. 2014; Angeles and Nath 2007; BrandonJones and Carey 2011, Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020).
Otherwise, new technological approaches, such as efficient data analytic systems (Hallikas et al. 2021), are
not of use in the E-procurement processes. The absence of an efficient IT infrastructure can lead to hidden
costs and reduces the quality of the E-Procurement processes which in turn effects the user context, i.e., the
internal user satisfaction (Brandon-Jones 2017; Brandon-Jones and Kauppi 2018).
The user tasks in the E-Procurement processes can broadly be divided in strategic, e.g., supplier negotiation,
and operational activities, e.g., ordering processes (Tripathi and Gupta 2020b). Challenges in the strategic
and operational procurement occur in form of inaccurate content and processes. Insufficient content in
form of missing, inaccurate or outdated information and the inability of the user to search and find the
necessary information can result in the rejection of the procurement system, as does the inability to deal
with complex ordering processes (Brandon-Jones 2017; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Brandon-Jones
and Kauppi 2018,). Hence, the internal user satisfaction in form of expedient processes, access to accurate
information and system-wide integration, are considered as key challenges to keep the users in the E-
Procurement system and prevent maverick buying, i.e., the purchase of goods outside the E-Procurement
system (Angeles and Nath 2007; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Brandon-Jones and Kauppi 2018). One
solution to overcome these challenges is, as in the organizational and environmental context, to educate the
users about the E-Procurement system, e.g., in user trainings (Angeles and Nath 2007; Nandankar and
Sachan 2020; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020). In addition, organizations can address the challenges
through the improvement of the procurement system in form of enhanced ordering processes, the
optimization of order leap times or user-friendly system interfaces and content provisioning (Brandon-
Jones and Kauppi 2018; Nandankar and Sachan 2020; Ramkumar et al. 2019). Although the latter is
emphasized in literature as one of the major advantages of AR, to date little research focuses on the
opportunities that can occur in E-Procurement through the implementation of the technology as well as the
associated challenges by its deployment.
Augmented Reality in E-Business
The use of AR has emerged as a rising trend in numerous distinct contexts over the past decades, reaching
from education or training (e.g., Lee 2012; Wu et al. 2013), to gaming (e.g., Hamari et al. 2019; Laato et al.
2020; Morschheuser et al. 2017), and E-Commerce (e.g., Riar et al. 2021; Yim et al. 2017), to name a few.
AR can be realized via head-mounted displays (e.g., HoloLens) as well as handheld devices (e.g., tablets)
and works by superimposing virtual objects and information, but also other sensory experiences such as
touch and sound, onto our reality (e.g., van Krevelen and Poelman 2010). AR is representational rich and
comprises features that allow users to interact with objects in real-time and to modify the augmented
content (Yim et al. 2017). In comparison to VR, AR overlays (or augments) the real world with virtual objects
or other sensory experiences, thereby combining the virtual components with the real environment (e.g.,
Milgram and Colquhoun 1999; van Krevelen and Poelman 2010).
In addition to other diverse contexts in which AR has established itself, the technology has become
increasingly relevant in the realm of E-Business. E-Business is the practice of conducting business over the
internet (i.e., electronically) and comprises both E-Commerce and E-Procurement (Timmers 1998; Zott et
al. 2011). Whereas E-Procurement is an upstream process which refers to the acquisition of services and
goods between commercial or government entities (i.e., B2B context) (Davila et al. 2003), E-Commerce is
largely understood as the internet-based sales of services and goods of a business to its (end) customers
(i.e., B2C context). It is notable that the AR technology has especially gained ground in E-Commerce,
presumably because businesses rely on the hedonic values that the technology offers, and in expectation of
customer acquisition and retention. There has been considerable support for the notion that AR can give
rise to different affective outcomes such as fun, enjoyment and playfulness, which in turn can support
customer satisfaction, word of mouth, brand engagement, store attractiveness, attitudes, and purchase
intentions (e.g., Bonnin 2020; Javornik et al. 2016; McLean and Wilson 2019; Park and Yoo 2020; Yim et
al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2019). However, AR can also be used towards instrumental ends which can
considerably affect usefulness perceptions (e.g., Huang and Liao 2015; McLean and Wilson 2019; Pantano
et al. 2017). It has the ability to bring products and their features into reach even if customers shop remotely
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(i.e., online). More specifically, instead of merely relying on images and text descriptions on websites, AR
enables users to try-out and modify virtual products, thereby supporting mental imagery and
informativeness, which essentially provides a base for better evaluation and enhanced decision comfort
(e.g., Heller et al. 2019; Hilken et al. 2017; Pantano et al. 2017).
However, it seems that businesses have been reasonably confined with bringing the AR experience to their
customer base while mostly overlooking that the technology may also be useful for their own procurement
processes. In order to exploit the benefits and foster the adoption of the technology, it seems of utmost
importance to better understand what challenges AR may help to overcome in businesses’ E-Procurement
For the objectives of this study, the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) was identified as a suitable company to
examine the research question, since the company’s structure, including 580 firms, induces a high degree
of in-house production and thus a high variance of both procurement goods and requirements in the
procurement processes. The selected company allows for a holistic and detailed analysis of the E-
Procurement processes, from the purchase of simple products, such as pencils, to the procurement of highly
complex components, such as train parts. Due to the sparse research on the application of AR in E-
Procurement, the study relies on an explorative research design by conducting interviews with experts in
the field of E-Procurement and AR. The experts were selected based on the following criteria: the experts
should provide relevant and precise information, are available to the researchers within the given time
frame and declare their willingness to participate in the interview (Gläser and Laudel 2009). Two methods
were combined for the sampling as suggested by Glaser and Strauss (1970): theoretical preliminary
determination and theoretical sampling. The theoretical preliminary specification of the interviews
included the subdivision of the interview partners into E-Procurement and AR experts. The interviewees
should hold an academic degree and should have worked in their domain for at least three years. The E-
procurement experts should also have insights into DB AG's value-added and digitization processes to be
able to provide competent information about potential improvements and possible applications of AR.
Based on the respective first interviews in the field of E-Procurement or AR, cases were sought which could
substantiate or invalidate the data from these interviews. The method of minimal variation was chosen to
consider similar case types.
The first point of contact with the AR experts were established via LinkedIn, Xing or contact forms for the
specific company. The DB AG experts were contacted personally in the work environment. While 14 AR
experts as well as 5 E-Procurement experts were contacted, three AR experts and three E-Procurement
experts agreed to conduct interviews (Table 1). Subsequently, a short summary of the research objectives
was sent to the experts and interview dates were scheduled. Due to the request of the AR experts, their
company names and domains remain anonymized. However, it is important to mention that the experts D,
E and F are not employed in the same company but in different organizations with a focus on AR. The expert
interviews are conducted semi-structured (Gläser and Laudel 2009) and therefore contain the topics in
relation to the research objectives but no standardized questions. As common for expert interviews, the
focus in the development of the interview guidelines was therefore on open questions to encourage the
interview partners to share their subjective assessments.
Job Tile
Field of Work
Project manager
IT Consultant
Management Consultant
Product manager
Augmented Reality
Sales manager
Augmented Reality
IT Consultant
Augmented Reality
Table 1. Interviewees, Field of Work and Data Collection.
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Data Analysis
First, the recorded interviews were transcribed to allow for scientific exploitation, in accordance with the
objective of this study. For reconstructive exploitations, attention to detail is not required (Gläser and
Laudel 2009). Hence, the interviews were transcribed in a simplified manner, i.e., paraverbal statements
were not considered. To allow direct quotes, the respective comments were translated into English. Second,
a qualitative content analysis based on Gläser and Laudel (2009) was chosen to analyze the transcribed
interviews. In comparison to other qualitative content analysis approaches (e.g., Mayring 2015), only
information are extracted which are relevant for the research objectives (Gläser and Laudel 2009). The
analysis is divided in the following steps: theoretical preliminary considerations, preparation of extraction,
extraction, processing, and analysis (Figure 1). To allow the analysis of the data, a category system was
derived from the theoretical considerations.
Figure 1. Data Preparation and Analysis based on the Guidelines of Gläser & Laudel
Category System
The extraction of relevant information and derivation of a category system (Table 2) is a central step in the
analysis procedure and is bound to the subjective assessment of the researchers. Thereby, the extracted
information are summarized and compared to generate a structured information basis for the analysis of
the data (Gläser and Laudel 2009).
The focus of the analysis are the currently deployed IT systems in E-Procurement at the DB AG and the
associated challenges (section Challenges in E-Procurement), opportunities in E-Procurement through
AR (section Opportunities in E-Procurement through Augmented Reality), and challenges for the
deployment of AR in E-Procurement (section Challenges in the Deployment of Augmented Reality in E-
Procurement). The objective of the former is to identify shortcomings and optimization possibilities in E-
Procurement. For this category, three subcategories were derived based on the review of literature and the
Theoretical Preliminary Considerations Preparation of Extraction
Research Question
Data Extraction
Data Processing Data Analysis
Theoretical Analysis Preparation of Material Extraction and Determination
of Categories
Analysis of Cases Analysis of Coherences
Combination of
Identical Information
Sorting by
Objective Aspects
of Errors
Main Categories
1. Challenges in
2. Opportunities in
E-Procurement through AR
3. Challenges in the deployment of
AR in E-Procurement
1.1. Challenges in the
IT infrastructure
2.1. Requirements & prerequisite
3.1. Challenge in AR deployment 1:
2.2. Suitable procurement goods
1.2. Challenges in the
strategic E-Procurement
2.3. Opportunities of AR in the
strategic E-Procurement
3.2. Challenge in AR deployment 2:
user training and usability
1.3. Challenges in the
operational E-Procurement
2.4. Opportunities of AR in the
operational E-Procurement
3.3. Challenge in AR deployment 3:
virtual product replica
Table 2. Category System.
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actual state analysis: Challenges regarding the IT infrastructure, the strategic E-Procurement, and the
operational E-Procurement. Since the experts did not state challenges regarding the organizational and
environmental context, the category was excluded from the category system. Based on the actual state
analysis and the challenges proposed in literature, potential fields of application for AR in E-Procurement
could be identified in the category “Opportunities in E-Procurement through AR”. In this category, the
experts stress specific requirements as a prerequisite for AR. Furthermore, the experts identify and evaluate
different procurement goods that bear opportunities for a deployment of AR (subcategories: “Requirements
and Prerequisite and “Suitable Procurement Goods). Lastly, AR induces opportunities to overcome
challenges in both strategic and operational E-Procurement that are summarized in the subcategories
Opportunities in Strategic Procurement” and Opportunities in Operational Procurement”. In turn, the
experts mentioned challenges that relate to the deployment of AR in E-Procurement (section Challenges
in the Deployment of Augmented Reality in E-Procurement). The challenges occur in relation to the
integration of AR, the user training and flow, and most of all in relation to the creation of virtual assets in
form of virtual product replica.
In the results, the findings from the expert interviews regarding the challenges in the E-Procurement
processes are described and compared to literature, followed by an assessment of AR as a solution approach
to overcome these challenges. Finally, challenges are described in relation to the deployment of AR in E-
Procurement. The results are illustrated in Figure 2.
Challenges in E-Procurement
The procurement at the DB AG is centrally organized and divided in three subsections: railed vehicles and
repair parts, infrastructure, and general goods and services. As common practice, agreements with basic
conditions build the foundation for long-term business relationships with contractors and suppliers. For
the operational processes, the DB AG relies on a mixture of IT systems. As a central entity for the in-house
customers, a private B2B E-Marketplace (Zhang and Bhattacharyya 2010) serves as the frontend access
point, allowing employees and partners to purchase and order specific goods and services for their explicit
needs. The marketplace is accessible via web browser on electronic devices. The participants in the
marketplace are strategic and operational purchasing agents, accountants, system administrators as well as
in-house users and employees (experts A, B, C). Challenges in E-Procurement occur both on an IT
infrastructure, and strategic and operational procurement level.
Challenges in the IT Infrastructure
The IT infrastructure bears challenges regarding strategic decisions and consistency, especially in form of
media-consistent purchasing processes and data and information exchange between subsystems. A media-
consistent purchasing process is explicitly important to the DB AG, since errors occur mostly at breaking
points between the subsystems, leading to increasing costs in the overall procurement process (experts B &
C, e.g., expert B: “[…] every breaking point in the IT landscape always leads to extra costs because it is
sensitive to errors.”). Hence, the challenges regarding the IT infrastructure are in line with the challenges
identified in literature which mainly refer to the establishment of standards and system integration
(Angeles and Nath 2007; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020). Since these
challenges cannot be addressed by AR and are not mentioned as an opportunity for AR in E-Procurement
by the experts, but rather have an impact on the challenges that occur due to the integration of AR, these
challenges are discussed in the fourth section.
Challenges in the Strategic Procurement
Procurement challenges occur both in the strategic and operational procurement processes. In strategic
procurement, the procurement system type (catalogue-based) entails challenges regarding the
customization of products. While catalogue systems are expedient for the purchase of standardized
products, various orders require an individual assessment and configuration of the good, especially for
complex products. Production machinery, e.g., may be acquired in a standardized design but often needs to
be adjusted to the specific application scenario and is therefore configurated through an information
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exchange process between a strategic purchase agent and the company that offers the product. Hence, the
strategic purchase agent is required to travel to the supplier either to assess the product quality or the
construction progress of an ordered product (expert A & C, e.g., expert A: “However, if the goods are really
high-priced and complex […] then the strategic purchase agents usually go back to their supplier and take
a look at it on site. They also go to the production sites to get a general idea of the quality of the products
or the production.”). The insufficient product assessment and customization processes lead both to
monetary and time costs (expert A & C, e.g., expert A: “If you now think about suppliers abroad, this is of
course particularly cost-intensive because the employees sit for hours in the plane or train.”).
Figure 2. Opportunities and Challenges of AR in E-Procurement
IT Systems
Virtual Product Replica
Challenges in the Deployment of Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Challenges in E-Procurement
Search Assessment
(No) Product
Visualization Interaction
Opportunities in E-Procurement
through Augmented Reality
User Flow
Negative effect on Positive effect on Indirect positive effect on
Insufficient InsufficientInsufficientInsufficient
Augmented Reality
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Challenges in the Operational Procurement
The catalogue system also has an impact on the operational procurement. As suggested in literature
(BrandonJones 2017; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Nandankar and Sachan 2020), one major challenge
is the usability of the procurement systems (expert A, B & C). Although the DB AG procurement system
provides a better ease of use in comparison to other Enterprise-Resource-Planning (ERP) systems (expert
A: “[…] the usability of the system is much higher than classical SAP ERP.”), it is still not comparable with
the usability of E-Commerce applications (expert B & C, e.g., expert B: “[…] users, especially the younger
ones, naturally like to compare the systems with their private applications. And what you always find is
that the private applications are now clearly ahead of the business applications."). One reason is that
procurement systems need to incorporate complex in-house processes to guarantee compliance (experts A
& B, e.g., expert A: “This is also a problem for us, because […] the complex company processes still have to
be mapped. Users often don't understand why so much information has to be entered […]” and “[…] don't
even know the complex requirements.”). However, due to their private experiences, employees often
compare the E-Procurement with E-Commerce systems (expert A & B, e.g., expert B: “We try to create a
shopping experience with the system that is comparable to shopping in a private environment, because
the users naturally also compare the system with their private experiences.”). An in-house evaluation at
the DB AG based on user questionnaires revealed critical aspects in terms of the content and usability: First,
the offering of products and services in the procurement system is considered as insufficient. Second, the
search for and the information about the products and services is considered as not intuitive, due to
drawbacks in the user guidance and system stability in terms of system failure and error messages (expert
A & B).
These deficiencies have an impact on the procurement time and process efficiency which were emphasized
by the experts as key indicators for enhanced procurement processes (experts A, B & C, e.g., expert A: “For
DB, it is of course important that procurement goods are procured timely to prevent delays along the
value chain […]. The time factor is also very important there.”). Due to the entirely digital workflow, the
procurement processes at the DB AG marketplace are time-efficient but there is optimization potential in
terms of purchase requisitions (experts A, B & C). The major effort remains in the product search and
comparison (expert B & C, e.g., expert B: “The biggest manual effort definitely comes with the requisition
or product search. This is actually the most important point […]”) as the users must search for the product
and compare product characteristics to verify their purchase. These challenges correspond with findings in
literature which stress that content, usability, and processing are crucial factors for successful procurement
systems (BrandonJones 2017; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Brandon-Jones and Kauppi 2018).
The procurement time and usability issues, however, effect challenges in terms of procurement costs. Three
factors are the main driver for the procurement costs at the DB AG: process costs, incorrect orders, and
maverick buying (experts A, B & C) while the latter is also considered as the main challenge for E-
Procurement systems in literature (e.g., Angeles and Nath 2007; BrandonJones and Carey 2011). Although
most of the processes are executed automatized, the requisition, the reversal and product return as well as
invoicing for products bought outside the marketplace are manually and semi-manually conducted
processes. While the insufficient requisition is caused by the deficient product search and comparison, the
product return is induced by incorrect orders and the invoicing by maverick buying. In terms of incorrect
orders, mainly caused by insufficient product information (expert A: “Incorrect orders occur especially
when the suppliers' catalogues are not well maintained and illustrations or descriptions of the articles are
missing.”), the procurement costs occur due to complex reversal processes. The complex processes, in turn,
result in not returned products (expert A, B & C), even if they are broken or not of use anymore which leads
to tremendous savings potential (expert B: “Very few people know the return process and it is also very
complex. [...] What you always hear, even from customers and companies, is that before you return
something, you just throw it away if you don't need it anymore. […] Of course, that's another savings
opportunity.”). Apart from the unavailability of products, the complexity of the in-house procurement
system also induces employees to purchase products over external channels which leads to higher
procurement costs for the firm since the generated bills must be booked into the system manually to allow
for an invoice reference (expert A, B & C, e.g., expert C: “[…] it is often the case that orders are not placed
via a purchasing system at all […]. And then the invoice cannot be allocated anywhere, and a lot of work
is done in the accounting department.”).
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
Opportunities in E-Procurement through Augmented Reality
To allow an integration of AR in existing E-Procurement processes, basic requirements are stressed by the
experts that concern the IT Infrastructure as well as procurement goods that are considered by the experts
as suitable for an AR application.
Requirements and Prerequisite
In online trading, handheld devices, such as smartphones, are often the medium of choice to display virtual
objects in the real environment and enable consumers to interact with products. According to the experts'
assessment, this form of AR is also suitable for E-Procurement (expert C, D & F). The use of handheld
devices has two major advantages in comparison to optical see-through technology: First, handheld devices
are currently far more developed, provide a higher ease of use and intuitive handling (expert D: “[…] I just
have it available. I can handle it, I can operate it, I have no fears about using it, I don't need any training
or education, I just have it, I know it, I use it.”). Second, there is a widespread availability of handheld
devices among the population (expert E: “We know that today 95% of the German population has a smart
device. [...]. Everyone has a smartphone with them now.”) and thus among the DB AG employees. Hence,
the implementation of a smartphone-based AR solution would not require any additional investments in
costly hardware.
However, to allow for a convenient application of AR, a programming interface is required according to the
experts' assessment since integrating the application directly in the existing IT infrastructure is considered
to be problematic (expert B, D & E, e.g., expert B: “I think it would always be an interface. […] integrating
augmented reality directly into the ERP system would be a step too far.”). Therefore, an app can be
developed that supports the administration of three-dimensional data models and interactive product
visualization. Currently, Apple's ARKit (Apple Inc 2022) and Google's ARCore (Google LLC 2022) are basis
technologies for the implementation of AR applications for handheld devices. The experts consider the
implementation based on the software development kits (SDKs) from Apple and Google to be
unproblematic (expert D, E & F, e.g., expert F: “In terms of implementation, these are standards that Apple
and Google provide. It's not that difficult to implement. It's not such a big effort.”). In addition to the basic
implementation, the link with the complex system landscape of DB procurement must be considered to
ensure the flow of information between the application and the existing IT systems. To enable the
connection to the existing system landscape, the products in the catalogue on the DB marketplace, that may
be visualized with AR, can be supplemented with QR codes (expert D). This would allow users to identify
their needs in the browser application and scan the attached QR codes with their mobile devices to create a
shortcut to the developed AR application, visualize the procurement goods and superimpose the products
correctly into the real environment.
Suitable Procurement Goods
In general, AR may be used for all kinds of procurement goods, but expert C stresses that a value-oriented
perspective is important since procurement does not focus on a joyful shopping experience but rather on
the simplification of complex processes and savings in procurement costs. Thus, simple goods such as pens
should not be the focus of the AR application but rather complex goods such as technical components or
plant facilities (expert B & E, e.g., expert B: “For more complex elements that require special explanation.”)
as well as goods that have a spatial context such as furniture or construction material (expert A, B, C & F,
e.g., expert F: “I think it definitely makes sense if the ordered product is ordered in a spatial context […]
and for machines. If I have a bigger workshop or plant facility: which layout do I like? […] How does it
fit in terms of paths if a vehicle has to pass?”). The AR application can be used to realize a projection of
these goods and interact with them in its specific environment (expert A, B, C & F). This procedure may
especially facilitate the simplification of large procurement orders with immense purchasing volumes
(expert A & C, e.g., expert C: “[…] if I refurbish workplaces, factory halls or something like that and buy
all the office equipment for it. From my point of view, that would be a case.”). Tools are another example
of procurement goods that are procured in a spatial context since a variety of characteristics differs only
slightly. AR is already used at DB AG in the area of service technology and maintenance to visualize work
steps and simplify complex repairs. This application can, in the opinion of the experts, be extended by using
AR, so that employees can directly position the specific tools in the real environment virtually and order it
via the marketplace (expert A, B, C & F).
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
Opportunities in the Strategic Procurement
Since AR allows not only the visualization but the interaction with products, its application has a high
potential to address the challenges in strategic procurement. The experts agree that AR can simplify the
strategic procurement processes which are complex regarding highly specific and technical products (expert
A, B, C, D & E, e.g., expert E: “In this area, the technology offers an enormous advantage because […] you
can present complex objects virtually.”). Through AR, the users are able to visualize, change or configure
the product and in turn understand the product functionalities (expert D, E & F, e.g., expert D: “I find that
through a three-dimensional visualisation [...] I create a relatively unambiguous picture [...] of what is
currently being configured, bought or sold. And that immensely reduces sources of error.”). Thereby, AR
supports the assessment of the product via its interactive features which can ultimately result in less time-
consuming evaluations of products compared to conventional methods of obtaining information (expert E),
especially for the procurement of highly specialized products that are only ordered once or twice a year.
These products are particularly expensive, dependent on a variety of factors and provide a high possibility
of error sources. In this case, the real-time visualization functionalities of AR can be used to reduce sources
of errors and simplify complex products which leads to planning certainty (expert D, E & F, e.g., expert D:
“That is precisely the issue with AR. I place the virtual, non-existent product in my reality […] can
practically gain my own experience by walking around the product and looking at it from all sides,
perceiving it as it appears in the real size in my environment. So, this level of experience, for many
products, is crucial to speed up the processes, reduce the misunderstandings and create a higher level of
certainty in the whole process”). The real-time visualization allows the purchase agents to circumvent
insufficient product information stated in the product catalogue or business trips to vendors and make
better purchase decisions since the characteristics of these goods, such as size and functionality, can be
reviewed directly at the deployment site (expert A, B & C) which allows for a time and place independent
assessment (expert A, E &F, e.g., expert B: Then there would be no need for 20 people to fly […] to see it
on site and walk around the factory premises. They could just put AR glasses on, so they can do certain
activities directly on site. That is definitely more cost-saving.”).
Opportunities in the Operational Procurement
The main challenges in the operational procurement are the content and usability of the procurement
system. Even though the DB marketplace constitutes an advanced procurement system, its content and
usability lags E-Commerce applications. The purchase processes at the DB AG marketplace, however, are
generally comparable to the purchase processes in E-Commerce, as products are searched for manually and
product characteristics are compared. Consequently, the process flow of E-Commerce, i.e., conducting a
primary non-AR-based product search in a web browser and utilize AR in a subsequent step to gather
additional information based on a visualization, can be transferred to the E-Procurement domain (expert
A & D, e.g., expert A: “The DB marketplace enables end-to-end processing of the operational procurement
process. […] You can imagine it a bit like Amazon.”) and point to the effectiveness of AR regarding the
usability of the E-Procurement systems. Publications on the application of AR in E-Commerce provide
evidence that the usability can be improved by AR technology (e.g., Huang and Liao 2015; McLean and
Wilson 2019; Pantano et al. 2017; Rese et al. 2017; Wang et al. 2015). The usage of the technology has a
positive impact on an enjoyable shopping experience (e.g., Blázquez 2014; Flavián et al. 2019; Olsson et al.
2013; Poushneh and Vasquez-Parraga 2017; Yim et al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2019) which is a major advantage
that can be transferred to the procurement domain (expert D & F, e.g., expert F: “[…] I believe that the
shopping experience could be significantly enhanced by augmented reality.”). The perceived immersion
(Yim et al. 2017 ) or spatial presence (Hilken et al. 2017; Huang and Liao 2015 ) that AR is capable of evoking
plays a crucial role for the emergence of hedonic experiences. Moreover, enjoyable experiences via AR have
been suggested to be induced by its interactive features as well as aspects such as vividness and perceived
novelty (McLean and Wilson 2019).
The enhanced shopping experience may also affect maverick buying. Users tend to maverick buying due to
the limited product portfolio and insufficient requisition processes. While AR cannot influence the limited
product offering, findings from the usage of AR in E-Commerce show that users can evaluate all relevant
product information in a minimum of time based on the technology (Pachoulakis and Kapetanakis 2012)
which leads to a faster purchase process and thus lower requisition costs. This increased interactivity of the
requisition may also lead to an accelerated purchase decision process in E-Procurement (experts A, D, E &
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
F, e.g., expert F: “Augmented reality can always be used where you need or want to access additional
information to simplify any process, be it a buying or a selling process. […] you can see and recognise
several products in real life in a minimum of time, and you can get a much better impression if it is a 3D
model than if it is on a piece of paper or in a classic print format.”).
Lastly, challenges occur due to incorrect orders. When the product information is insufficient, purchase
agents and users may order products that do not correspond with their expectations. Since the procurement
system does not provide an efficient workflow for reversal and product return, incorrectly ordered products
often remain at the DB AG which has both monetary and ecological drawbacks. While AR cannot influence
the reversal and product return processes in the system, it can address this challenge indirectly by reducing
the number of incorrect orders. As stressed by the experts, the 3D visualization of a product and the
possibility to place it in its specific environment reduces the likelihood that the products do not meet the
user’s expectations (expert D, E & F, e.g., expert F: “In the B2B context, it may be different again that it
was really misinformation, that people thought they were ordering what they needed, but then ordered
something else. In this case, augmented reality can definitely help.”). The avoidance of incorrect orders
has both a positive monetary effect, since only products are ordered that are actually used, and a positive
ecological effect through the reduction of resource waste (expert D: “It benefits the environment because
we simply produce less waste. [...] which is of course a huge potential.”). Besides the illustrated
opportunities of the technology for E-Procurement, challenges occur in terms of the integration and
deployment of AR in the existing systems.
Challenges for the Deployment of Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Literature on AR in E-Commerce suggests that AR is currently in its infancy in terms of adoption (Yim et
al. 2017; Moorhouse et al. 2018). In the same vein, the experts point out that AR to date has only been
sparely adapted in E-Procurement (expert D). Reasons are the novelty of the technology and its associated
challenges regarding its deployment.
Challenge 1: Integration
Considering the IT infrastructure, no additional investments are expected for hardware acquisitions due to
the wide adoption of handheld mobile devices. However, costs occur on the software level through the
integration of the AR environment and the interface to the existing IT systems (expert F: “The only question
is whether augmented reality is the best technology to solve this, because it also costs money to implement
augmented reality solutions that are fully comprehensive.”). The experts emphasize that integrating the
application directly in the existing IT infrastructure is problematic (expert B, D & E). The complexity of the
IT infrastructure requires an adequate connection between the application and the system landscape to
ensure the data exchange. In addition, a major disadvantage is that no haptic interaction or simulation is
possible through the AR environment (expert F: “You don't yet get this feeling of haptics via augmented or
virtual reality. [...] I don't think it can replace this feeling at the moment.”) which influences the assessment
of products. Thus, AR is rather seen as a complement, not a supplement of existing procurement processes
(expert E & F, e.g., expert E: “I generally believe that augmented reality, immersive technologies in
general, are a good addition, but not a substitute for processes.”). Hence, the challenges also stressed in
literature regarding the IT infrastructure, i.e., system integration and maintenance (Angeles and Nath
2007; BrandonJones and Carey 2011; Nandankar and Sachan 2020; Sánchez-Rodríguez et al. 2020), also
apply for the deployment of AR.
Challenge 2: User Training and Usability
In terms of the operational procurement, the added value of AR remains unclear for many users due to the
novelty of the technology. Although users evaluate the technology itself as positive, mainly because the
interaction with the technology is perceived as enjoyable, most users struggle to recognize the essential
benefits of AR (expert D: “Although the technology per se has been available for 20 years, it has still not
reached the masses. For many it is still a hype: it's cool and it's interesting. And many still see it as a
gimmick. Few also recognise the other benefits in the first step.”). Hence, the users must be educated about
the benefits to allow the advantages of AR to unfold. In addition, literature on E-Commerce suggests that
an aesthetic and consumer-friendly interface is mandatory if the technology should be adapted by users in
online retail (Bonetti et al. 2018; Bonnin 2020; Huang and Liao 2015; Pantano et al. 2017). The same applies
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
for the use of AR in E-Procurement. To satisfy the user and add value, a user flow must be established
through an intuitive and user-friendly application (expert E: “There has to be a certain flow in which AR is
also involved, so that it is not at all noticeable that it is an additional step.Otherwise, the user will not
recognize the advantages of the AR functionalities (expert E).
Challenge 3: Virtual Product Replica
However, the major challenge regarding the deployment is the processing and provisioning of 3D data that
is considered as problematic, both from a financial and technological perspective (expert D, E & F).
Although 3D visualizations are to date standard in the industry (expert D & E) and thus are available for
most physical products, they cannot directly be used in an AR environment due to the complexity of the
models. The 3D models are too detailed and encompass too high volume of data to visualize them in AR in
real-time (expert D & F, e.g., expert F: “The CAD formats are not optimized for displaying or something
like this in real time on a small device.”). Apart from the non-suitability of the virtual products in terms of
their complexity, there are concerns regarding data privacy (expert D, E & F, e.g., expert E: “Intellectual
property, i.e., IP, is also involved. [...] I don't want to show that to everyone.”). Since the 3D models can
draw conclusions about the construction of the product, firms do not want to disclose this sensible product
data to prevent a reengineer of the explicit product by competitors (expert F: “Of course, the companies do
not want to disclose their design data because then anyone who has access to it could rebuild the product,
because they know exactly how it was designed.”).
Hence, virtual product replica must be created, i.e., 3D models that represent a replication of the (virtual)
product with determined characteristics explicitly for the visualization purpose (Korbel 2021; Korbel and
Zarnekow 2022). Therefore, the models must be down-sampled (expert D, E & F). Typically, this down
sampling process is achieved by neglecting specific components of the model or displaying them in a
simplified way (e.g., Lee et al. 2001). Although there are software tools that can execute this process
automatically (e.g., García and Patow 2008), these often cannot distinguish between relevant and irrelevant
components and thereby simplifying important details for the procurement process. Thus, especially for
complex procurement goods, the virtual product replicas must be processed manually by a technical artist
in a subsequent step (expert D: “This becomes more complicated when it comes to larger plants [...]. Then
it is no longer possible to automatically to reduce the data, [...] then perhaps an artist must do the job and
agree with the customer which parts of the product […] are particularly important.”) which leads to
additional efforts and costs. Consequently, the experts consider the establishment of automated tools for
data reduction as crucial for the diffusion of the AR technology in E-Procurement (expert E & F).
Discussion and Conclusion
The objectives of this study were to identify current challenges in E-Procurement, the potential of AR to
address these challenges, and the challenges associated with the deployment of AR in E-Procurement based
on expert interviews. The challenges in E-Procurement at DB AG are mostly consistent with findings from
literature: challenges regarding the IT system (integration and standards), high procurement costs and time
due to inefficient processes, and eventually maverick buying if the procurement system, e.g., does not
provide specific product information or an adequate usability. Apart from challenges in terms of the IT
infrastructure, that cannot be addressed by AR but rather constitute challenges for its deployment, the
identified challenges in the strategic and operational E-Procurement processes provide both the necessity
of improvement and the possibility of utilizing AR technology to enhance these processes (Figure 2).
The identified challenges in strategic E-Procurement, namely the assessment and customization of products
and travel expenses, allow for an expedient deployment of AR, especially if the objective of the procurement
is not bulk ordering but the purchase of highly specialized products. In this case, AR can be used for the
configuration of both materials and components of a product while the technology enables purchase agents
to evaluate the characteristics of these highly complex goods, such as size and functionality, directly at the
deployment site. As this assessment is both time and place independent, traveling costs and time expenses
can be decreased. Hence, AR can be considered as a promising complement for the strategic procurement.
Thus, manufacturing companies should evaluate the deployment of AR applications while focusing on
specific procurement goods in the application rather than considering all goods for the application. In turn,
suppliers are expected to create and offer virtual product replicas specifically for their complex products to
allow for a remote product assessment.
Augmented Reality in E-Procurement
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems 2022
The opportunities of AR for operational E-Procurement are mostly consistent with the potential of AR for
E-Commerce. Lengthy ordering processes, (no) product returns and employees purchasing products
outside the procurement system are considered as the major challenges in E-Procurement at DB AG. AR
can accelerate the purchase processes and avoid incorrect orders based on enhanced product information
and assessments which were emphasized by the experts as the major advantages of the application of AR in
E-procurement. The reasons for maverick buying, however, can only partly be addressed by AR. The limited
product offering, and insufficient product search cannot be improved by AR. But maverick buying may, as
in E-Commerce (e.g., Pachoulakis and Kapetanakis 2012; Yim et al. 2017), indirectly be reduced by an
enjoyable shopping experience as well as an accelerated purchase decision process based on the interactivity
of the product requisition and the evaluation of all product information in a minimum of time. However,
the pathway to overcome this challenge is to provide users with a shopping experience that is comparable
to E-Commerce. Interestingly, the experts considered the enjoyable experience as major advantage of AR
but state in the contrary that the usage of AR should rather be value-driven and thus focus on the
visualization of complex products and products with a spatial context. As for the strategic procurement, this
has an impact both on the procurement goods that are to be included in the AR environment and the scope
of the application functionalities which in turn may result in two different AR applications: While the AR
application for operational procurement and simple goods, such as pencils, may be oriented towards E-
Commerce AR applications and focus on hedonic features to keep the users from maverick buying, the AR
application for strategic procurement may not focus on enjoyability but rather on more sophisticated
functionalities to allow for an enhanced assessment of procurement goods.
Apart from the opportunities of AR to address the challenges in E-Procurement, challenges exist for the
deployment of AR in E-Procurement: the integration in the IT infrastructure, the user training and
usability, and virtual product replica. The integration with the existing IT system landscape is considered
challenging and considerably cost-intensive. Firms may conduct an inhouse evaluation of their IT landscape
to validate whether the advantages of the technology justify its integrational costs which vary based on the
size of the company and the integration capability of the IT systems. In addition, users must be aware of the
advantages that the AR application include, otherwise employees will reject the technology. An education
of the users in form of a user training (e.g., Nandankar and Sachan 2020) about the advantages of AR may
help to overcome this challenge. Therefore, companies may offer workshops with AR case studies to allow
their employees to identify and internalize the technology’s advantages. Lastly, the major challenge for the
deployment of AR in E-Procurement is the provision of virtual assets in form of virtual product replica, i.e.,
3D models that are designed for the purpose of visualization in AR (Korbel 2021; Korbel and Zarnekow
2022). Since the 3D data of virtual products is too complex, the models must be down sampled while
protecting the construction details due to privacy and reengineering concerns. The 3D models are the basis
for the AR application. Hence, the creation of virtual product replicas deems tremendously important for
the diffusion of AR in E-Procurement. Therefore, both manufacturers and suppliers may evaluate their
product development processes to identify product stages in which they can efficiently derive AR-usable 3D
models from their virtual products. Furthermore, differences between operational and strategic
procurement must be considered during the 3D model creation process. In strategic procurement, the
products need to be complex to allow purchase agents to properly evaluate the components. In operational
procurement, attributes such as form, function or colour might be sufficient, thus complex 3D models are
not mandatory. In turn, the creation of virtual product replicas does not only constitute a major challenge
but opportunity for companies. Providing services for a cost-efficient creation of virtual product replicas
under the considerations of privacy concerns could not only allow for AR diffusion but new business
segments. In addition, the provisioning of these specific 3D models may serve as a qualification requirement
for suppliers and allow for a differentiation and assessment criterion to participate in E-marketplaces.
Limitations and Future Research
The limitations of the study stem from the methodological approach. Due to the novelty of the technology
in the context of E-procurement, no experts could be identified that provide expert knowledge both in E-
Procurement and AR technology. Hence, experts from both domains were interviewed and their knowledge
synthesized in the analysis of the data. In addition, expert interviews have the drawback that they are based
on the subjective perception of the interviewees. Especially the generalizability of the results should be
regarded with caution due to the subjective assessment and the rather small number of interviewees.
However, these limitations were addressed by the qualitative content analysis based on Gläser and Laudel
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(2009) and the comparison and synthetization with E-Procurement challenges in the literature. In addition,
the results are limited to the qualitative research approach and to the AR developer and user perspective.
Empirical investigations with a higher number of participants and a piloting of the technology in E-
Procurement are mandatory to verify the qualitative results quantitatively as well as the inclusion of the
suppliers’ perspective on AR and the provisioning of virtual product replicas.
Furthermore, the results of the study induce three future research avenues: First, there seems to be a lack
of understanding in terms of which and how AR characteristics (e.g., interactivity, novelty, vividness, etc.)
may support perceptions of usefulness, ease of use and other related instrumental-based determinants that
could be relevant for the adoption of AR in E-Procurement. This hints at the necessity to empirically
explore, e.g., theories of IT acceptance (Davis et al. 1989) or task-technology-fit (Goodhue and Thompson
1995) in the context of AR-mediated E-Procurement systems. Second, since the use of AR in E-Procurement
is still very limited, there is uncertainty about if and to what degree AR can potentially support or impede
workload perceptions in E-Procurement. Workload is understood as the stress, frustration, and effort, may
it be of mental, physical, or emotional nature, that is demanded of an individual for accomplishing given
tasks (e.g., Hart 2006; Hart and Staveland 1988). While there have already been investigations into
workload perceptions of using AR in E-Commerce (e.g., Xi et al. 2022; Zhao et al. 2017), there are no similar
attempts that assess workload perceptions of using AR in E-Procurement that would contribute to our
understanding on how expedient AR solutions in E-Procurement can be accomplished. Finally, whether the
advantages of AR overweigh the challenges and costs of its deployment constitutes an interesting future
research direction, not only in E-Procurement but in E-Commerce. Multiple studies emphasize the
opportunities that occur through AR and the positive effects on the customer; but less research considers
the costs of the implementation and virtual product replicas, as well as whether AR can easily be integrated
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Purpose Despite the substantial research in the domain of electronic procurement adoption, usage and performance (EP AUP), there is no structured review of these studies and most of the literature is in fragmented form. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate and synthesize EP AUP research in the past two decades and map key research approaches, prevailing theories and antecedents used by researchers to study EP AUP at the individual user and organizational level. Design/methodology/approach To evaluate and comprehend past and current patterns/themes in the EP AUP research area, a systematic literature review is undertaken. Significant peer-reviewed studies covering three categories – adoption, usage and performance and seven classification criteria are critically reviewed. Findings The findings reveal that most investigators mainly used “technology acceptance model,” “technology–organization–environment” framework and their extensions, demonstrating that “perceived ease of use,” “perceived usefulness,” “trust,” “organizational size,” “organizational readiness” and “behavioral intentions” are the most critical drivers of EP AUP. Research limitations/implications For researchers and practitioners, the review highlights a taxonomy of contextual factors to be considered for successful EP AUP. It further makes suggestions for future research meeting challenges of Industry-4.0. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first systematic literature review undertaken in the field of EP that studies it from three different perspectives. It further builds on the determinants of EP AUP and classifies them in four distinct categories: organizational, individual, information system level and environmental.