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Consumer Responses to the Use of Technology-Based Self-Service: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

  • Author(s): Braxton, Dominique F.
  • Advisor(s): Spangenberg, Eric
  • Pechmann, Cornelia
  • et al.

New technologies and new ways to connect with consumers are transforming the retail industry. As digital innovation continues to alter consumer behavior, brick and mortar store environments must conform to meet the changing wants and needs of consumers. Although consumers are increasingly demanding in-store technology that supports an omnichannel shopping experience, retailers are still at varying stages of digital store transformation. In my dissertation, I aim to illuminate some of the benefits of incorporating technology-based self-service in the physical retail store and emphasize the importance of conforming to a digital retail transformation. Specifically, I explore how technology-based self-service increases consumer perceptions of control and decision comfort during the shopping experience.

Further, I examine the role of technology savviness and need for interaction to understand how individual differences concerning technology-based self-service impacts consumer perceptions of control and decision comfort. These questions address a gap in consumer behavior research given that much of the scholarly literature on consumer use of self-service technology explores antecedents such as technology readiness and adoption or post-shopping experiences concerning POS self-service. In contrast, my dissertation addresses consequences that consumers experience after engaging in technology-based self-service for shopping task completion. In particular, I hypothesize that consumers who engage in technology-based self-service to complete mid-shopping tasks (e.g., wayfinding or ordering a product) will experience greater control and thus greater comfort in their shopping decisions.

Further, I explore consumer individual differences concerning technology savviness and need for interaction. Specifically, I hypothesize that technology savviness will moderate the relationship between technology-based self-service such that consumers who are more technology savvy will experience greater perceived control and decision comfort compared to their less tech-savvy counterparts. Further, I hypothesize that consumers with lower need for interaction will experience greater perceived control and decision comfort compared to those with higher need for interaction. My findings from six experimental studies demonstrate that technology-based self-service for mid-shopping task completion increases consumer perceptions of control and decision comfort, but only when consumers consider themselves tech savvy or have a low need for interaction.

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