An innovation diffusion perspective of e-consumers’ initial adoption of self-collection service via automated parcel station

Author:Xueqin Wang, Kum Fai Yuen, Yiik Diew Wong, Chee Chong Teo
Publication Date:12 Feb 2018
An innovation diffusion
perspective of e-consumersinitial
adoption of self-collection service
via automated parcel station
Xueqin Wang
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Kum Fai Yuen
Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul,
Republic of Korea, and
Yiik Diew Wong and Chee Chong Teo
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Purpose As an application of self-service technology, automated parcel station (APS) is emerging as a
logisticsinnovation to address the inefficiency and deliveryfailure in conventionalhome delivery. However, the
long-term viabilityof APS depends on the consumersacceptanceof such concept. In response, the purposeof
this paper is to conduct a behavioural study on consumersadoption of self-collectionservice via APS.
Design/methodology/approach By synthesising theoretical insights from the innovation diffusion
literature and attitude theories, a conceptual model is developed and empirically validated. Perceived
characteristics of APS are present to directly influence the consumersadoption intention, or indirectly
through attitude. A total of 170 valid responses are collected from a survey conducted in Singapore and the
data are analysed using structural equation modelling.
Findings Consumersfavourable attitude and perceived relative advantage of APS directlylead to stronger
adoption intention. On the contrary, consumersperceptions on compatibility and trialability and on
complexity indirectly influence their adoption intention via attitude, in a positive and in a negative way,
respectively. Additionally, attitude is found to be the most influential factor contributing to consumers
adoption intention.
Research limitations/implications The scope of this paper is limited to e-consumersinitial adoption
decision. Future research should examine the consumersadoption behaviour further down the innovation
adoption process, such as continuance and commitment.
Originality/value This research conceptualises and validates the consumersadoption behaviour of APS
from a synthesised view of innovation diffusion and attitude theories, theoretically and empirically
contributing to the field of study on logistics innovations from the consumersperspective.
Keywords Innovation diffusion theory, Consumer behaviour, E-commerce, Last-mile deliveries,
Logistics innovation, Self-collection
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Innovative self-service technologies (SSTs) are dramatically changing the way how
business services are conceived, developed and delivered (Meuter et al.,2005). By offering
various self-services, companies are able to increase productivity and efficiency at a lower
labour cost without compromising service standards (Bitner et al., 2002). Consumers are The International Journal of
Logistics Management
Vol. 29 No. 1, 2018
pp. 237-260
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/IJLM-12-2016-0302
Received 31 December 2016
Revised 21 February 2017
12 April 2017
Accepted 23 May 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The authors are grateful to the editors and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback and
insightful comments. The authors would also like to thank the graduating bachelor degrees students
in collecting some of the field data used in this study. There is no conflict of interest.
An innovation
able to dictate time, pace, location, desired interactivity and ultimately the outcome of the
service, thereby overcoming many of the restrictions of a full service channel (Collier and
Kimes, 2012). In this regard, the consumers are important contributors to the firms
productivity by taking a co-production role, portrayed as the co-creators of value
(Vargo and Lusch, 2008).
A promising innovative SST is found in e-commerce last-mile logistics, whereby the
option of technology-based self-collection service, otherwise known as automated parcel
station (APS), gradually prevails over conventional home delivery (Morganti, Dablanc and
Fortin, 2014). APS empowers consumers to self-collect parcels from centralised APS at their
convenient time and location (Collins, 2015). It represents a fundamental shift in the nature
of e-commerce logistics as compared to conventional deliveries that entail many carriers
making home deliveries to fragmented destinations of end consumers and cost hours of
consumerswaiting time for parcel reception. However, the feasibility of any innovative
service provisions should always be balanced against the perceptions and behavioural
responses of the consumers (Collier and Kimes, 2012). Therefore, this study aims to
investigate the adoption behaviour of APS from the consumersperspective.
According to thediffusion of innovation (DOI) theory, an innovation is anidea, practice or
object that is perceived as new by an individual or group (Rogers, 1995). In this regard, the
concept of self-collection via APScan be safely qualified as an innovationin logistics as it is a
combinationof a practice (self-collection) and an object (APS)that is new to the consumers. In
the field of logistics, innovation studies have not attracted much attention (Flint et al., 2005),
despite theemergence of many innovativeconcepts and technologiesin the past decades, such
as containerisation, electronic data interchange, cross-docking, radio frequency identification,
collaborativeplanning forecastingand replenishment, and more recently,mobile tools-enabled
services in e-supply chain management (Cagliano et al., 2015; Cagliano et al., 2017; Fu, 2016;
Fu et al., 2015; Grawe, 2009). Grawe (2009) developed a model of logistics innovation by
reviewing prior logistics literatures and Hazen et al. (2011, 2012) examined the diffusion of
logistics innovation in a supply chain context with a strong emphasis on the innovative
practice of reverse logistics. However, their studies were mostly conducted from the
organisationsperspective aiming to establish the relationship between innovation logistics
practices and organisationscompetitive advantage. Consequently, consumersreceptivity,
which is crucial to the successof the innovation, has not been addressed. Furthermore, while
the issue of consumersreceptivity has been discussed in some literature specifically
concerningthe logistics innovationof APS (Dablanc et al., 2015; Morganti,Dablanc and Fortin,
2014; Morganti,Seidel, Blanquart, Dablanc andLenz, 2014; Xu et al., 2008), they arelargely of
descriptive nature and little emphasis is placed on the behavioural component of consumers
adoption decision of APS. Indeed, last-mile delivery is a consumer-oriented service with a
strong behavioural element (Collins, 2015). Of interest are the motivations that drive the
uptake of the APS option over conventional home delivery. Thus, the key factors that
motivate consumersadoption of APS remain to be explored.
Theoretically, a common theme underlying various research streams in adoption study is
the inclusion of perceived characteristics of the service system as key independent variables
(Agarwal and Prasad, 1997). Among others, DOI literature and attitude theories, such
as theory of reasoned action (TRA), emerge as two major schools of thoughts (Hanafizadeh
et al., 2014). Therefore, viewing APS as a logistics innovation, this study proposes and
empirically validates a framework to explain the consumersadoption of APS by
synthesising theoretical insights from innovation diffusion literature and attitude theories.
While TRA broadly regards individuals behaviour as a direct consequence of behavioural
intention which is in turn influenced by ones attitude towards the behaviour (Fishbein and
Ajzen, 1975), innovation diffusion literature (Rogers, 1995) supplements TRA by providing a
set of attitudinal beliefs in the specific context of consumersadoption of APS.

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