Tech powered convenience stores
A must-have to offer a hybrid and customer-centric shopping experience
Every other Wednesday, h/commerce provides in-depth analysis of the most impactful trends reshaping retail.
The pandemic period has afraid more than one retailer. Many points of sales remain close for an undetermined period.
This peculiar context has encouraged customers to change their consumption habits.
However, even though many have moved towards online shopping solutions, the physical shop remains an important part of the customer journey.
The physical shop model is not dead! In its study, eMarketer is showing how the sensory and entertaining aspects of the in-store shopping experience are still very important in the consumer journey.
Even if consumers are not ready to give up shopping in stores, a recent study from Business Wire has shown that 2% of US shoppers get frustrated when shopping in a store, with 86% annoyed at waiting for a refund, 52% angry about waiting to pay and 49% ready to explode if they are unable to find what they want.
Cases to take away
Amazon is leading this transformation through the openings of Amazon Go cashierless stores in selected cities.
The Amazon Go technology allows customers to enter the stores by scanning the Amazon Go app, take anything they want from the shelves and leave the store without going through the check out. They are billed directly from their app thanks to cameras and sensors recording any move and anything taken from shelves.
Nowadays plenty of examples are following the same model.
Recently, Aldi opened its first Shop&Go store in Greenwich High Street in London.
This opening is following a trialing period where the solution was tested by the staff.
Customers can do their shopping without having to go through any checkout or products scanning. What they only have to do is downloading the Aldi Shop&Go app to be able to enter the shop. Many cameras are tracking what customers are picking from the shelves.
Then, once their grocery shopping is over, customers just have to walk out the store and they are directly charged into Aldi’s app.
Other actors around the world introduced very similar technologies.
Tesco offers a cashless store thanks to an autonomous Trigo technology in selected UK locations.
Carrefour also joined the autonomous stores‘ competition.
The grocer tested an autonomous store in Dubai. It is a big leap forward for Carrefour as well as the Emirates. The store is based on the AiFi technology and is called City+. The customer journey is entirely contactless.
More recently, Carrefour opened a store in Paris, called Carrefour Flash. This connected store differs from other ones. To get inside the store, visitors won’t have to be registered beforehand. Then, this isn’t a cashier less store, but Carrefour is still promising a very quick checkout. 60 cameras and 2000 weighing scales integrated in the shelves can detect how consumers are completing their shopping bag.
Even if registration is not needed, the checkout is kept quick thanks to a ticket directly printed with the good information on it when the consumer gets to the cashier.
Before a more global deployment, the brand is testing this new service.
Some go even further and offer fully automated shops.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.COM unveils two robotic shops – named Ochama – merging automated warehouse and pick-up shop in the Netherlands.
The automated warehouse is mainly equipped with a fleet of robots (automated ground vehicles), robotic arms, and more.
Customers can also visit the shop’s showroom where Ochama’s product assortment is displayed.
Customers order their products online, then visit the store where robots pick up and sort out the products. Then, they scan their QR code using the app and get their order within 2 minutes. They can also have their order delivered to their home.
These in-store enabling solutions are extending to other sectors: Amazon is opening a tech powered Amazon Style store.
Thanks to algorithms, customers are provided with advice through the Amazon Shopping app.
The 1st store of its kind is about 2,800 sq and is near Los Angeles, California.
As an ordinary fashion store, items are displayed on shelves but inside Amazon Style customers have to scan a QR code to select the color and size of items they want to try on and then send items to a fitting room. The visitor of the store is then added into a virtual queue leading to the fitting room.
Once in the fitting room, the customer can ask, through its app, any other item he or she wants to try on. Some touchscreens inside the fitting rooms are even offering some additional recommendations to customers and they are saving customers’ choices to be more accurate.
Thanks to this new offer, Amazon is offering a fully personalized and convenient service.
Source: Le Monde
Why is it interesting?
With the development of automated or cashierless shops, it is reasonable to wonder whether this augmented shop model is not the future of convenience shopping.
On the other hand, we are seeing the development of solutions in opposition to this shortening of shopping time, Carrefour’s bla-ba-cashers are a good example.
These checkouts are available to customers who want to have a chat with the cashier or take their time.
The human dimension remains a fundamental part of any shopping experience.
What is clear is that retailers, whether in food retailing or in other industries, will continue to integrate technology into their shops to provide a frictionless shopping experience for their customers.
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