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Just walk out: the effect of AI-enabled checkouts

Yuanyuan (Gina) Cui (Department of Marketing, AUT Business School, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Patrick van Esch (Department of Marketing, AUT Business School, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Shailendra Pratap Jain (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 7 May 2021




This paper aims to investigate the effect of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled checkouts on consumers’ purchase intent and evaluations of the retailing atmosphere. It also offers novel findings pertaining to the mediating role of arousal and moderation by innovativeness importance on consumers’ responses toward AI-enabled checkouts.


Three pilot studies, two field studies and one online experiment featuring 1,567 respondents were conducted by manipulating checkout methods.


AI-enabled checkouts lead to a higher level of arousal, which, in turn, yields more favorable store atmosphere evaluations and higher purchase intent. Furthermore, the positive effect of AI-enabled checkouts is moderated by consumers’ innovativeness importance.

Research limitations/implications

This research contributes to the emerging body of AI research and demonstrates a novel perspective by illuminating that under certain circumstances, AI-enabled checkouts lead to more positive outcomes relating to store atmosphere evaluations and purchase intent, as well as the unintended effect of heightened arousal.

Practical implications

This study shows how marketers and practitioners can promote consumers’ evaluations and patronage likelihood effectively by harnessing AI-enabled checkouts for those who consider innovativeness as important.


This research documents the novel findings of how and when AI-enabled checkouts garner more favorable consumer responses.



Cui, Y.(G)., van Esch, P. and Jain, S.P. (2021), "Just walk out: the effect of AI-enabled checkouts", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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