How Mobile Self-Scanning Use Influences Consumers’ Grocery Purchases



With mobile self-scanning devices, consumers scan items while they shop so they can track spending in real-time and check out quickly without having to unload their shopping. The authors study the effect of self-scanner use on several aspects of grocery purchase behavior, while controlling for its potential endogeneity. They use panel data from the Netherlands, covering all major grocery retailers that offer the technology. The results show that the impact of self-scanning on purchase behavior is mostly among shoppers who have not yet built up experience with the device. Such shoppers respond to the spending feedback with less effortful ways of curbing spending, i.e., simply buying fewer items. This holds in particular for price conscious consumers and when they shop at a price-oriented chain. Among shoppers who have experience with the device, there is a strong and significant increase of private label buying. The authors also report several other results related to shoppers’ motivation, ability, and opportunity to use the self-scanner.