Cashierless retail isn't just for Amazon Go anymore
- Indiana convenience store chain Ricker's is rolling out cashierless checkout technology at its 58 stores by the end of next month, according to a press release. The company partnered with Skip, a developer of mobile self-checkout apps, to merge mobile pay and "just walk out" experiences, bringing frictionless payments that aim to cut checkout times from 60 seconds to nearly instantly.
- Skip aims to help Ricker's cut costs by lowering transaction fees and staffing requirements, giving the chain a competitive advantage from other gas stations and convenience stores. Skip is working to optimize the customer experience, including integrations with Zipline, a developer of private-label debit and loyalty programs, and Ricker's Kickback Rewards program.
- Meanwhile, Silicon Valley startup Inokyo opened a prototype cashierless store that uses cameras to track what customers pick from shelves and buy as they leave. Shoppers need to install its mobile app on their phones, which are scanned as they enter and leave the store to track their purchases, per TechCrunch.
Cashierless checkout technology has been popularized by e-commerce giant Amazon, which is gradually expanding its partially automated Amazon Go stores to more locations after opening a concept store in Seattle this year. But as Ricker's and Inokyo demonstrate, cashierless checkout doesn't have to be exclusive to large companies with millions of dollars to invest. The service is expected to become increasingly common among retailers that seek to cut labor costs and provide greater convenience to their customers through mobile technology. Microsoft is working on cashierless checkout systems to rival Amazon's, Reuters reported.
Cashierless checkout systems for retail and grocery stores are expected to handle more than $78 billion in transactions in the next four years, up from $9.8 billion last year, Juniper Research estimates. More than 5,000 retail outlets will offer the tech by 2022, while the number of consumers using mobile checkout apps will jump to 30 million from less than 4 million in 2017, according to the study.
Consumer adoption of cashierless checkout tech is critical for the space's success, as Walmart discovered this year. The company abandoned its Scan & Go app that let shoppers scan and pay for items with their smartphones as they shopped and skip the checkout line altogether. Walmart had tested the service in about 120 U.S. locations starting a year ago with plans to expand to more stores. However, it experienced difficulties is usability, as customers found it too challenging to bag, weigh and scan items like produce, causing most shoppers to head to traditional checkout counters. Walmart instead said it would use those insights to inform its new service Check Out With Me, which gives employees mobile point-of-sale devices to ring up items and provide a receipt for customers on the spot.