January 13, 2020

Autonomous Checkout: The Future of Retail

How is the world of retail harnessing autonomous checkout?

The future of retail is here, and it’s already evolving further. For years now we’ve seen the technology used in brick and mortar stores progress and be refined time and again. From the rise of self-checkout to the birth of Scan & Go Technology, we’ve seen so much in a short period of time. And there’s even more to come in 2020 and beyond. 

All of these shopping innovations have one thing in common: they are promoting autonomous checkout. Based on the fact that the greatest technological developments in the retail industry have circulated around autonomous checkout, it’s clear that this trend is not only the aim for retailers presently but also the future. Imagine a world where shopping will be as simple as checking into a store, picking up the items you need, and leaving – knowing that you’ve been charged appropriately. It’s not so far off. But what are the benefits, and things to consider, when thinking about the future of autonomous checkout?
Is your checkout process losing you customers? 

Benefits

A major pain point for shoppers today is having to queue and wait to be served at conventional checkouts. 52% of shoppers say speedy, frictionless payment is a must. Imagine, you’re shopping at your favorite store, you choose the product you want and then you’re subject to having to wait in line to pay, no matter the size of your basket. That’s the gap that autonomous checkout, and particularly mobile self-checkout solutions, look to fill for shoppers.

From the shopper’s perspective, having an option to pay for their goods that doesn’t require them to wait in a long or slow queue is a huge attraction. The knowledge that they can simply leave the store after picking up the items they wish to purchase creates a positive experience for the customer, which in turn reflects better on the retailer and increases the likelihood of the shopper visiting (and buying) from them more frequently.

In terms of benefits to retailers, the technology behind autonomous checkout might be an investment, but the data insights it generates will enable retailers to better cater for their shoppers and generate a higher lifetime value from them. Shopper behaviour understandings based on the products that customers interact with can help identify their desires, which can then be catered for through push notifications, direct email and social media. This is imperative for retailers as 80% of shoppers will shop from those retailers that offer a personalised experience.

Autonomous checkout also allows employees to work the floor more efficiently, making them more available to customers so that they can offer product advice or answer questions. This benefit is multileveled, as it is positive for the shopper, the business, and the employee who won’t be forced to stand constantly at the till. 

Things to consider

Without a doubt, something to consider when thinking about autonomous shopping is the technology behind it and getting sceptical customers on board, whether it’s from a generational divide or those that are concerned about their data and privacy. However it’s important to note that attitudes are steadily shifting towards a more digital future with 44% of 18 – 44-year-olds saying that if an in-aisle payment method were available, they would use it. 

Retail is not a sector that is impervious to Murphy’s Law, however. For a seamless and easy transition when adopting autonomous checkout technology, retailers need to assess their own IT infrastructure and systems and choose the right partner with which to develop their autonomous checkout offering. Selecting an experienced provider is key to ensuring that the technology is fast, reliable and provides a high level of satisfaction for users. 

Conclusion

Clearly, there is a need for autonomous checkout technology from both a shopper and retailer perspective. However, the major point of focus for retailers should always be the customer’s in-store experience and how they can enhance this through the implementation of autonomous checkout. By being able to improve this experience, shoppers will in turn value those brands that are taking extra steps to put the shopper’s needs first.

What to know more? Find out where retail technology needs to go next.

 

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