An emerging trend is currently hitting the grocery industry: small unmanned 24/7 stores. Also known as container boxes, mini/micro stores, digital self-service stores, cashier-less supermarkets, automated micro market, Just Walk Out, Grab’n’Go, …
This means they can be open 24 hours 7 days a week, provided there are no legal restrictions.
The most well-known just-walk-out technology is Amazon’s “Amazon Go“. In Amazon Go stores, customers simply take products and walk out. Technologies such as computer vision (cameras) and sensors identify who puts which product in the shopping basket. Amazon already operates about 30 stores in the U.S. and UK.
One challenge of just-walk-out concepts is the high cost of technology, as hardware requirements for the stores make economies of scale difficult to achieve.
There is also criticism of the compatibility of Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology in relation to the EU’s data protection regulation, GDPR.
Oversized vending machines are also an emerging trend. Either customers buy directly at vending machines put up in a store or place orders in advance via their smartphone app or at a terminal. The goods are then automatically picked behind the scenes using robotics and can then be collected at a deposit box.
Here again, the CAPEX investment required for hardware is enormous and the technology still limits the size of the assortment. The advantage is that theft can be relatively well prevented.
Currently, the popularity of unmanned 24/7 stores with self-checkout is increasing, either via Scan & Go smartphone app or via self-checkout terminals. The advantage is that hardware and technology costs are comparatively low.
Challenges exist with checks for purchasing age-restricted products and putting the right amount of loss prevention methods in place.
Unmanned 24/7 stores are an important trend and bring convenience to the local supply of fast-moving products such as groceries or drugstore items. This way,unmanned store operators can offer their customers to buy products for their daily needs frictionless, at any time and anywhere. Digital technologies enable various store concepts to meet customers’ demand optimally and operate stores economically.
Would you like to learn more? Contact our “24/7 Unmanned Stores” experts at shopreme: firstname.lastname@example.org