Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Consumers' Intention to Use Self-Scanning Technology: The Role of Technology Readiness and Perceptions toward Self-Service Technology

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Consumers' Intention to Use Self-Scanning Technology: The Role of Technology Readiness and Perceptions toward Self-Service Technology

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The concept and study of SST has gained wide spread interest in recent years (Beatson, Lee, and Coote, 2007; Dean, 2008; Forbes, 2008; Makarem, Mudambi, and Podoshen, 2009; Kelly, Lawlor, and Mulvey, 2010). The proliferation of new self-service technology (SST) found in the retail environment today suggests a need to assess the extent to which consumers are willing to actually use this new technology. A general conclusion from previous research is that the adoption of SST is driven by technology characteristics and individual differences.

SST is likely to become increasingly more important because it allows retailers to standardize their interaction with consumers (Hsieh, Yen, and Chin, 2004), to increase productivity and efficiency (Walker, Craig-Lees, Hecker, and Francis, 2002), and to offer consumers access to services through new and convenient channels (Meuter, Ostrom, Bitner, and Roundtree, 2003). SST also allows consumers to be productive resources involved in the service delivery, thus allowing retailers to handle demand fluctuations without expensive adjustment of employee levels (Curran, Meuter, and Surprenant, 2003).

Self-scanning checkouts in grocery stores is one type of SST that when first introduced over two decades ago was initially not well received by consumers. This resistance may have been due to consumers' lack of trust and confidence in themselves and in the new technology to perform correctly. Today, however, self-scanning technology is very popular and has grown beyond grocery stores, with self-scanning checkout/check-in kiosks found today in airports, movie theaters, and libraries. The modern consumer is seemingly more technologically informed and comfortable with using self-scanning technology.

One of the nation's largest grocery stores, Kroger Co. is currently testing a new advanced self-checkout system (Gasparro, 2011). This new technology, which is a scan-tunnel system, is similar to what airlines use for carry-on luggage. Customers place their grocery items on a conveyor belt and the tunnel scans the barcodes regardless of which direction they are facing. Initial results are encouraging as customers appear to be embracing the scan tunnels, and the new technology has the potential to reduce theft but still allow for employee interaction by bagging the groceries and manning the scan tunnels.

Given the expanding role and importance of self-scanning technology in the retail setting, it is imperative to enhance the understanding of factors that may affect consumers' evaluation and intention to use self-scanning technology. The purpose of this paper is to extend recent research that has investigated factors driving consumers' usage of self-scanning technology. Specifically, this study assesses the impact of consumer differences (i.e., technology readiness) and SST attributes (i.e., perceived reliability and perceived fun) on consumers' intention to use self-scanning technology to complete a retail transaction.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Self-Scanning Technology

Meuter, Ostrom, Roundtree, and Bitner (2000) first defined SST as "technological interfaces that enable consumers to produce a service independent of direct service employee involvement." The increasing use of SST by retailers has created a growing need for classifying different types of SST. Meuter et al. (2000) introduced a classification of SST along two dimensions: 1) interface (telephone/interactive voice response; online/internet; interactive kiosks; video/CD) and 2) purpose (customer service; transactions; self-help). Cunningham, Young, and Gerlach (2008) also classified SST along two dimensions: 1) standardized vs. customized, and 2) separable vs. inseparable. Standardized includes pay at the pump, Internet search, self-scanning, and tax software. Customized includes online education and online brokerage services.

The importance of one type of SST, self-scanning technology, has grown significantly in retailing seemingly because of its potential strategic value. …

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