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Autonomous stores: How levels of in-store automation affect store patronage

Autonomous stores operate without needing on-site staff present to support and monitor customers. This study seeks to determine which autonomous stores are most likely to succeed. By adapting convenience theory and drawing on secondary and qualitative data, the authors identify unique features of autonomous stores that constitute convenience dimensions: options for check-in (access convenience), staff support (assistance convenience), check-out (transaction convenience), and to allow customers to check their itemized baskets (verification convenience). Perceptions of convenience, autonomy, and safety explain the influences of unique store features. A conjoint experiment provides a test of the direct effects of each dimension on store patronage and indirect effects through convenience, autonomy, and safety perceptions.

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