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Department of Economics, Lund University Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University

No 2017:15:
Self-Scanning and Self-Control: A Field Experiment on Real-Time Feedback and Shopping Behavior

Natalia Montinari (), Emma Runnemark and Erik Wengström ()

Abstract: Payment and checkout at retail stores is increasingly being replaced by automated systems. One recent technological invention in this area is mobile self-scanning in which customers carry a mobile scanner while shopping. Mobile self-scanners give real-time feedback on spending. The device increases price saliency and enables customers to keep track of the total amount spent. Using a field experiment, we test if mobile self-scanning affects shopping behavior. Consumers of two grocery stores were allocated randomly to use a mobile self-scanner or not. Overall, we find that using the self-scanner has a negative but insignificant effect on total amount spent. However, the response to using the scanner is heterogeneous and for customers with low self-control, it significantly reduces both their spending and number of items bought when using the mobile scanner. Moreover, we find that consumers with low self-control are more likely to use the self-scanner than individuals with high self-control. Taken together, our results suggest that sophisticated individuals, that is, individuals who are aware of their self-control problem, use the scanner to control their spending.

Keywords: Self-scanning; Self-control; Shopping Behavior; Real-time Feedback; Field Experiment; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D01; D12; M30; (follow links to similar papers)

23 pages, November 28, 2017

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