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Effect of Self-scanning Checkout Technology on Consumers Buying Behaviour

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 4463 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Table of Contents







2.1 Consumer Buying Behaviour

2.2 Retail Industry in the United Kingdom

2.3 Self-Scan Checkout technology




1.1 Ethical Review Form: Part 1

1.2 Ethical Review Form: Part 2




Grocery industry in the United Kingdom (UK) is considered as one of the largest private sectors in terms of employers and was valued at £184.5 billion in June 2017 (Phillips, 2017).

 This industry aim is to provide affordable and quality food in all over the country. There are approximately 87,141 grocery stores in UK which are divided into four sectors: supermarket chains, traditional retail and developing convenience, convenience stores and alternatives channels.

The supermarket sector is dominated by three major’s supermarkets which are Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda; and some smaller stores such as Iceland, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl operating all in the same market. This industry is registering the strongest growth in the UK retail industry. This has been more driven by the introduction of online shopping and the expansion of convenience stores in all over the country.

In the last two decades there has been a heavy and continuous competition in supermarket industry (Wood, 2014). This has pushed large grocery chains to innovate and invest in new technologies in order to improve consumers shopping journey, effectively manage their satisfaction and therefore attract them as many as possible.

 Recently among the new technologies introduced in supermarket industry, we are witnessing an increase in Self-Scanning Checkout technology in almost all the largest and smallest supermarket chains. These shifts of economy and technology with the use of Self-Scanning Checkout in supermarket has not only revolutionised the industry but it has also rewritten consumer’s shopping habit.

This research is seeking to find out whether this proliferation Self-Scanning Checkouts in supermarket industry has been really benefiting consumers. Additionally, it seeks to assess different constraints and struggles faced by consumers while using this new technology.


Did Self-Scanning Checkout Technology lead to high consumer’s satisfaction in UK supermarket industry?


The aim of this research is to critically evaluate the effect of Self-Scanning Checkout technology on Consumer Buying Behaviour in UK supermarket industry.



  • To explore the true raisons behind the increase in Self Scan Checkout technology in UK grocery industry.
  • To compare Self-Scanning Checkout usage within UK grocery industry.
  • To analyse consumer experience while using the Self-Scanning Checkout and their potential attitude, behaviour and responses towards this new checkout system.




2.1 Consumer Buying Behaviour

Consumer behaviour can be defined as the study of the processes involved when consumers acquire, consume and dispose of goods, services, ideas, activities in order to satisfy their desires and needs (Noel, 2009).

Consumer buying behaviour examines how consumer acquires, dispose and use products and services which can be acquired through purchases (Kotler, 2013).

Business leaders and marketers have to understand consumer behaviour theory in order to be successful and gain competitive advantage in market environment. In addition, their big challenge is to understand the different factors that influence consumers in their buying decision; because they have a huge impact on their business survival (Noel, 2009).

These factors can be divided into three categories:

1 External influence has a huge impact on individual consumer’s decision. It includes consumer’s cultural background, faith, ethnicity, references and social class. People of similar background might have the same products or services purchasing habit.

2 internal processes include consumer decision making, information search, problem recognition and judgement)

3 Post-decision processes include post-buying behaviour.

The global financial crisis has changed consumer’s buying behaviour; many consumers have started turning towards newcomers’ low cost supermarket LIDL and ALDI for the routine shopping. This has a huge impact on big supermarkets as they find it difficult to maintain their market shares (O’Neil, 2015).

The outstanding technological changes seen in recent decades have substantially shaped the way of doing business (Beall, 2017). Internet which is one of these technologies has provided more opportunities to consumers by creating different communication channels such as emails, social network advertisement, websites which have empowered consumers by offering them the ability to find information regarding products or services, price comparisons, purchases and many more.

Also, this change has influenced the way consumers behave and established new condition for business success. In other way, innovation and new technology have also shaped new consumer attitudes. Consequently, as technology will continue to move forward, businesses should keep up to the new trends and consumers will adjust appropriately.

Self-Scanning Checkout which is one of the recent Technologies is rapidly expanding in the supermarket industry and has changed the way consumers behave. Additionally, it is reshaping consumers buying behaviour and shopping habit.

Therefore, businesses need to keep up with these emerging trends in order to avoid disappointing customers and falling behind other competitors operating in same industry or market.

2.2 Retail Industry in the United Kingdom

According to (Patrick M.Dune, 2011), retailing can be seen as a business which consists of the final steps and activities needed for selling goods or services made elsewhere to consumers.

The UK retail industry is essential to the economy and contributes at around £319.000 billion in retail businesses, 395 billion in sales and 92.8 billion in the output of the economy. It is estimated to have 11.4% of gross value in the UK economy in 2017 (Rhodes, 2018).  Also, it can be considered as a massive and influential vast private sector in terms of employees with 2.9 million in 2017 (Scott, 2017).

Despite their size and influence, there are a lot of contrasts on the way retailers operate in this industry. They operate under single shops, markets mobile, department store, malls, online and some of them operate locally and worldwide (Rhodes, 2017).

In the last five years, retail industry has significantly changed by adopting new technological advancements and innovation. The way products or services are being sold to customers, the way customer’s purchases goods or items and the roles of employees in retail industry have transformed the industry (Stevens, 2016).

Nowadays, new technologies play a key role in retail industry. They can facilitate effective communication and interaction with customers, and products and service distribution. Additionally, they can create exciting ways of learning the behaviour of customers, track, create products or services shape to the need of customers and attract them (Armstrong, 2009).

Indeed, it can be noticed that, almost all the big UK supermarkets and some small ones have introduced the Self-Scanning Checkout which were once used just in banking sector and airport check-in to all their stores and shops. On the other hand, whether or not customers’ expectation is being completely met by the introduction of SSC it’s a matter of controversy.  

2.3 Self-Scan Checkout technology.

It is all start with the invention of the automated teller machine in the United Kingdom in 1967. Almost twenty years later, inspired by the long grocery checkout queue in South Florida, David R Humble came up with the Self-Service Till (Hamacher, 2017)

Self-Scanning Checkout also called “the automated teller Machine”, it is a machine which allows customers to process their shopping at the till or buy goods or services without or with limited assistance.  It is said that the tills have become in vogue in the 1990s and their number in store exceeded 200,000 worldwide by 2013 and they are forecasted by 2021 to reach 325,000 (Hamacher, 2017)

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In the United Kingdom, Self-Scanning Checkout saw its debut in Banking sectors and airports and in 2008 and Tesco was the first supermarket to launch in its stores the use of Self-Service Checkout (Robards, 2015). Currently, there is a proliferation of Self-Scanning Checkout within the UK supermarket industry, in some stores there are more Self-scan checkout than manned-operated checkout. Retails are arguing that it is all about giving more options, speed and convenience.

Large supermarkets have even created two compartments of SSC, one for customers buying 10 items or less and another for those buying a lot of items.  In fact, a SSC is similar to the standard checkout. However, customer is in interaction with a computer user interface rather than a store cashier (Gunther, 2017).

Indeed the checkout process begins when customer starting to scan goods and the payments are made by card, cash or voucher.

Despite all the advantages retailers are putting forward in introducing SSC in this industry, it is still not prove whether customer experience while using this new technology are being taken into account.



This research will apply a methodology that has been selected in order to collect information and come up with conclusion about the use of Self-Scanning Checkout in a short time frame. In order to carry on with this research and answer the research question, different methodologies procedures and tools will be used:

Positivism is social research which focuses on facts, looking for causality and fundamental laws (David Arison, 2005). Interpretivism on the contrary focuses on the meaning and looks at the totality of the situation. Positivism approach will be used because this research will focus on analysing how people think about Self Scanning Checkout technology.

Inductive approach is a type of research approach which starts with a small observation that determines the structure and develops a theory by working on related subject and establishes the hypothesis. Deductive approach on the contrary is a research approach that start with a general statement or theory then moves to particular (Gray, 2006). Therefore, Deductive approach will be used in this research because generally this research has its foundation on UK retail industry but will particularly focus on the use of Self-Scanning technology in the Supermarkets industry in the United Kingdom.

Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that develops an understanding of a problem in details on human and social sciences, to find out the way people feel and think (Surbhi, 2016). Meanwhile, Quantitative research is used to generate hard facts and numerical data by using logical, mathematical and statistical techniques (David Arison, 2005). In this research, Quantitative method will be used throughout the use of questionnaires which will be sent to a selected number of people and their responses or feedback will help to answer the research question.

Interview is described as one of the most effective tools for data collection which consists of conversation between the interviewer and interviewee in a formal way. In contrast, Survey is a research process used to analyse and collect information from a group of people in order to measure their thoughts, experiences and opinion (Seidman, 2015). Therefore, Survey strategy will be used in order to collect data from participants as participants will be contacted via Survey Monkey because it is easy to use, a link will be created and directly sent to participants via theirs social network accounts. Their responses can be easily collected and analysed.

Cross sectional is a research in which data are collected from the participants in a brief time or at a single point of time (Burke Jonson, 2012) . Interpretivism is a research which investigated participants in depth over time. Cross sectional is relevant

Probability sampling is a sampling technique in which participants have an equal opportunity to be chosen from a population as a representative sample. In contrast, Non- probability sampling is technique in which individual from the population will be selected without being given equal chance as a sample for research (K.Thompson, 2012). Non probability sampling will be used in the research because the participants of this research will be chosen by the researcher.



This research will need various resources in order to find scientific theory and relevant information for this subject. Resources such as: Print Media (Company or organisation’s reports, articles, newspapers and magazines), books and Journals which are very useful in providing some critical opinion and information. In addition, electronic media such as the World Wide Web, library catalogue, the internet, Google scholar, ProQuest will be used for searching keywords and information. Furthermore Survey Monkey Software will be used for getting in touch with participants and SPSS software will enable to analyse data.                                            In addition, time management is very important because there is a limited time-frame for this research and financial resources will be needed.




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1.1                Ethical Review Form: Part 1

Part 1 needs to be completed by all Business Research Project students.

Please read the following two statements and place an X in the area indicated for the statement that most accurately represents your research intentions.

Student Statement

Insert X

Student Action

Statement 1

I have read the above information. I confirm that my research does not include study on human participants.


You do not need to complete Part 2 of this form. Ethics approval is not required.

Statement 2

I have read the above information. I confirm that my research does involve the study on human participants.


Please proceed to complete Part 2 of this form.

Proposals that are submitted without the completed Ethical Review Form will receive a fail grade.

1.2                Ethical Review Form: Part 2

Part 2 only needs to be completed if you put a cross against Statement 2 in Part 1 above.




I have prepared a participant information sheet (including information on secure data storage), and submitted it in Appendix 1.


I have prepared a participant consent form (including information on right to withdraw from the study), and submitted it in Appendix 2.


If you have put a cross No for either of the above, please note that your final Research Project will have to include a participant information sheet and a participant consent form.

Please answer all of these questions by ticking yes or no in the box provided.





Does the study involve participants who are particularly vulnerable or unable to give informed consent? (e.g. people under the age of 18, people with learning disabilities, students you teach or assess)




Will it be necessary for participants to take part in the study without their knowledge and consent at the time?




Does the study involve audio or visual recording of people in public places?




Will the study involve the discussion of sensitive topics? (e.g. sexual activity, drug use, illegal activities, death, whistleblowing)




Are drugs, placebos or other substances to be given to the study participants or will the study involve invasive, intrusive or potentially harmful procedures of any kind?




Does your study involve a topic that would be considered ‘sensitive’ (age, culture, race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic standing, or religion)?




Is physical pain or psychological stress from the proposed project likely to cause harm or negative consequences beyond the risks in normal life?




Does the study involve groups or materials that may be construed as terrorist or extremist?




Will financial inducements (other than expenses) be offered to participants?




Does the study involve the collection of data that is not anonymised (contains identifying information such as name and address)?


If your answer is yes to any of these questions, please fill in Part 3.



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