VILLANOVA, Pa. — A research study on shopper attitudes toward self-checkout systems suggests that some shoppers may feel self-conscious about using the technology in the presence of another user.
The study, funded by Villanova University here, concluded that in an area consisting of four self-checkout machines, a shopper's comfort level would be adversely affected by the presence of one other self-checkout user, but not by three other users, or if the other terminals were unoccupied.
Conducted at a Kroger store in Starksville, Miss., the study was based on surveys of 114 shoppers, two-thirds of whom are women, with an average age of 39, who were each paid $5 to use a self-checkout and fill out a questionnaire afterwards. About 90% of participants reported having used self-checkout in the past.
"Our hypothesis was that the more people using adjacent terminals, the less comfortable the [study subjects] would be," said Michael Capella, assistant professor of marketing at the Villanova School of Business, a division of Villanova University, and one of the three authors of the study. "But we found they were least comfortable in the presence of one additional person while with three others it went back to being like nobody else was there."
The study results suggest that retailers should, through marketing and advertising, "encourage and educate shoppers on how easy the technology is to use," said Capella.
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