Service Robots Rising: How Humanoid Robots Influence Service Experiences and Elicit Compensatory Consumer Responses

Martin Mende, Maura L. Scott, Jenny van Doorn, Dhruv Grewal, Ilana Shanks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

252 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Interactions between consumers and humanoid service robots (HSRs; i.e., robots with a human-like morphology such as a face, arms, and legs) will soon be part of routine marketplace experiences. It is unclear, however, whether these humanoid robots (compared with human employees) will trigger positive or negative consequences for consumers and companies. Seven experimental studies reveal that consumers display compensatory responses when they interact with an HSR rather than a human employee (e.g., they favor purchasing status goods, seek social affiliation, and order and eat more food). The authors investigate the underlying process driving these effects, and they find that HSRs elicit greater consumer discomfort (i.e., eeriness and a threat to human identity), which in turn results in the enhancement of compensatory consumption. Moreover, this research identifies boundary conditions of the effects such that the compensatory responses that HSRs elicit are (1) mitigated when consumer-perceived social belongingness is high, (2) attenuated when food is perceived as more healthful, and (3) buffered when the robot is machinized (rather than anthropomorphized).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-556
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Volume56
Issue number4
Early online date22-Apr-2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019

Keywords

  • FOOD-CONSUMPTION
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • SOCIAL ROBOTS
  • ORGANIC FOOD
  • EGO-THREAT
  • SELF
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • HEALTH
  • STRESS
  • ACCEPTANCE

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