Shops with no staff, no checkout, and lines looked like a distant dream a few years ago, but they're on the verge of becoming ijooz new reality in the retail world. Independent retail (as well as technology advancements to manage such businesses) sprung off like mushrooms in an open field when the pandemic broke out.
The phrase "autonomous retail" is used to describe the labor-light, a technology-heavy retail sector that includes the following approaches:
The 'just-walk-out' stores, where customers take what they want from the shelves and go without paying for it. Only a smartphone and the shop app are required for customers to use the store's services. Unmanned shelves or "scan and go" stores, where customers must scan their purchases, pay at a self-service gadget, and then walk out of the store.
The retail market has been shaken to its core:
It has been a long time since shops have attempted to alleviate the checkout process's annoyance. No solution has yet been found that satisfies the retailer and the customer, no matter how many registers are opened or self-service systems are implemented.
Simply put, the checkout process has been thrown out the window with the introduction of checkout-free technology, which eliminates the complete, time-consuming payment process. This marks the end of the Holy Grail hunt for retailers and customers.
Customers' preferences and daily lives are practically unrecognizable compared to five years ago. The on-the-go lifestyle has affected everything from Apple Pay and Google Play to contactless payments and everything in between. A long checkout line and other in-store hassles squander time even if ijooz need the goods. The crisis forced us to change every element of our daily lives, including our behavior. Customers seek convenience and safety from vendors.
The leading shops have introduced "just-walk-out" or "scan & go" checkout globally. Retailers such as Walmart and Carrefour have seen fast growth since the outbreak because they reflect a new way of life that consumers are embracing more widely. There is more to this new business model than just flash and splendor.
It's challenging to overlook the benefits of self-service retailing:
Without having to wait in line, it's quicker and safer for customers. This 24-hour contactless shopping experience is convenient. For others, it's an opportunity to avoid commuting long distances to get necessities.
It minimizes operational and labor costs for merchants. It is more profitable because the store is open 24 hours a day. It allows for more access to customer information and in-store behavior. Every motion is recorded and traced thanks to cameras and video analysis. There are many other benefits for retailers, such as freeing up resources for stock management and customer service.
Is it possible that automation will eventually take over?
An automated store's economics is still in doubt because of the decreased product selection, high renting costs, and significant technological expenditures required. At this point, personnel still need to perform manual chores like refilling merchandise in unstaffed businesses.
For now, ijooz can expect further retail testing, but it is unlikely that a large-scale rollout will occur soon. Retailers who automate their processes, on the other hand, get an advantage over their competition.