Correction added on 23 July 2012 after initial online publication on 11 March 2012. The term “proposition/s” has been changed to “hypothesis/es” throughtout this version of the article.
Self-Service Operations at Retail Stores: The Role of Inter-Customer Interactions
Article first published online: 11 MAR 2012
© 2012 Production and Operations Management Society
Production and Operations Management
How to Cite
Li, M., Choi, T. Y., Rabinovich, E. and Crawford, A. (2012), Self-Service Operations at Retail Stores: The Role of Inter-Customer Interactions. Production and Operations Management. doi: 10.1111/j.1937-5956.2012.01321.x
- Article first published online: 11 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 1 MAY 2009
- inter-customer interactions;
- self-service terminals;
- service quality;
- repurchase intention;
- attribution theory
Inter-customer interactions are important to the operation of self-services in retail settings. More specifically, when self-service terminals are used as part of customers’ checkout processes in retail operations without the explicit involvement of retailers as the direct service providers, inter-customer interactions become a significant managerial issue. In this article, we examine the impact of inter-customer interactions at retail self-service terminals on customers’ service quality perceptions and repeat purchase intentions at retail stores. We conduct a scenario-based experimental design (N = 674) using a 2 × 2 factorial design in which inter-customer interactions are divided into “positive” vs. “negative” and occur during the “waiting” or during the actual “transaction” stages of self-services at a retail store. We use attribution theory to develop the hypotheses. The results demonstrate that, through their interactions, fellow customers can exert influences on a focal customer's quality perceptions and repeat purchasing intentions toward a retail store. Furthermore, these influences were impacted by how customers attribute blame or assign responsibility toward the retail store. Service operations managers should leverage these interactions by designing into self-service settings the capacities and interfaces that are best suited for customers’ co-production of their self-service experiences.