The time has come for stores to be completely run by technology. These technology-run stores are basically self-service stores that give a myriad of benefits for both retailers and customers. Self-service stores are trendsetters in retail, or at least the self-service features like endless aisle and scan & go are most certainly trending in the retail industry trends right now.

Self-Service with Phygital Retail

1) Unmanned Store

An unmanned store looks like any other ordinary store with products stacked on shelves. But what is unusual is that the doors of these stores only unlock after a customer scans a QR code or via face recognition if the customer has registered with the store.

EatBox, Takego & BingoBox are the few unmanned stores that are currently functioning in China. The idea of an unmanned store struck the Chinese only after Amazon announced its cashier-less Amazon Go store. Therefore hassle-free checkout is another advantage to add in the list of benefits for the unmanned stores. Another major advantage is that retailers can collect a lot of data about their customer’s preferences and buying habits.

However stores without human assistance are still a work in progress. At least there must be assistance until the customers gets adapted to such stores. Takego a store that only allows one customer at a time is said to open 100,000 stores across china within the next 3 years. The 2 features that are grabbing a lot of attention in an unmanned store are Endless Aisle and Scan & Go.

Kate is a millennial who loves to shop! She needed an assistant who would understand her shopping needs to pick what is best in short span of time. The retailer’s mobile app becomes her best friend.

2) Endless Aisle

Endless Aisle is one of the most talked about feature in stores. This feature adequately brings in more customers since the retailers go an extra mile to satisfy their customers.

When an aisle does not have a product the customer is looking for, this feature will help the customer to check out their preferred products through the screen placed near the aisle and lets them place an order immediately. It drastically reduces loss of sales. Forrester Research Inc says that about 10% of retail store sales are lost due to items being out of stock. This can be avoided with endless aisle.

The key benefits are increased sales conversion, reduction in sales loss, enhanced customer experience, better customer insights, inventory, etc. In order to achieve all these benefits the inventory needs to be kept up-to-date, staff should be empowered, ordering should be made easy where it can be easily communicated and tracked.

3) Scan & go (Unmanned Check-Outs)

This feature has also been grabbing a lot of attention where customers don’t have to waste time at the cash counters but scan their products themselves, pay and walk out of the store. Walmart will expand its Scan & Go technology in another 100 stores across the U.S. this year. And Kroger announced it will roll out its “Scan, Bag, Go” service in 400 stores this year, according to Business Insider.

Business Benefits

  • Increase profit margins by reducing staff costs
  • Gain and retain customers by providing hassle free and enhanced shopping experience
  • Capture better customer insights to understand your customer preferences

Read our series of blogs in The Connected Store 2.0 below :

Part 1 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Why the Traditional Store Is Passe-

Part 2 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Mapping & Tracking Customer Frequency

Part 3 : The Connected Store 2.0 – In-store Customer Experience

Part 5 : The Connected Store 2.0 – Beyond the In-store Experience