Ideas 2 Go: A Frictionless Experience

Russell’s Xpress is innovating the unmanned, frictionless convenience store concept. 

July 07, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As more convenience retailers develop and implement frictionless customer experiences and technologies, one retailer has been using this concept for years.

Located in a busy downtown Denver office building, Russell’s Xpress is an unmanned convenience store operated by HJB Convenience. The “tenant convenience” concept was launched in 2015 by owner Raymond Huff and his team. The store is stocked with snacks, confections, beverages and general merchandise made for grabbing and going—the perfect selection for office workers who want to quickly and conveniently satisfy their food and thirst needs.

To enter the unmanned store, customers are required to enter their phone number or the number for the office they are visiting inside the building. Customers grab the items they want, scan the UPC at one of two checkouts and pay using credit or debit, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.

While Russell’s Xpress is unmanned, staff checks in on the store up to three times per day. Customers can contact the retailer’s help desk for immediate assistance, and products are replenished and refreshed daily.

“Frictionless is coming … You will forget your wallet and go without it all day long, but you will not forget your phone,” said Raymond Huff, president of HJB Convenience, a chain of 19 specialty convenience stores in high rise office buildings. Huff was also recently named to the Conexxus Board of Advisors.

The NACS Ideas 2 Go program captures insights from retailers who are creating innovative consumer experiences by staying ahead of the everchanging retail landscape. See more on how Russell’s Xpress is innovating the unmanned retail concept in “A Frictionless Experience.”

Chris Blasinsky is the NACS content communications strategist; she can be reached at cblasinsky@convenience.org, and on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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