The Sales Impact of Using Handheld Scanners: Evidence from the Field

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Anecdotal evidence is mixed regarding whether handheld scanners used in stores increase or decrease consumer sales. This article reports on three field studies, supported by eye-tracking technology and matched sales receipts, as well as two laboratory studies that show that handheld scanner use increases sales, notably through unplanned, healthier, and impulsive purchases. The findings highlight that these effects may be limited by factors such as not having a budget; for those without a budget, use of scanners can decrease sales. Building on embodied cognition and cognitive appraisal theories, the authors predict that scanners, as a bodily extension, influence sales through both cognitive (shelf attention, perceived control) and affective (number of products touched, shopping experience) mechanisms. The results offer implications for retailers considering whether to integrate scanners into their store environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527–547
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number3
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • embodied cognition
  • eye tracking
  • handheld scanners
  • perceived control
  • retail technology
  • shopping enjoyment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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