The Rising Popularity of Checkout-Free Technology

More retailers are exploring ways to eliminate friction for customers, including skipping the checkout line.

July 30, 2021

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SEATTLE—Over the past several years, retail technology has revolutionized the shopping experience. From apps delivering instant savings, to walk-in/walk-out technology and skipping the checkout line, retailers are exploring new ways to provide exceptional customer service, Forbes reports. Beyond Amazon Go, other retailers testing checkout-free technology include Morrisons, Robomart, Valet Market and other convenience stores.

“We're on the cusp of a complete reconfiguration of customer-brand dynamics, where physical and digital will be transformed into a new, fully connected experience,” wrote Jason Cottreel, CEO and founder of Myplanet, in Forbes. “It's clear we've only scratched the surface of what checkout-less tech will enable—it won't just alter the in-store purchasing experience, it will impact nearly every aspect of the retail experience.”

Checkout-free technology is more than providing customers with a frictionless shopping experience. “The biggest difference-maker for retailers with the arrival of checkout-less tech is the increased understanding of the customer's path to purchase via new in-store data. By helping them understand what consumers buy, what they consider and what they leave on the shelves, these new data-driven insights will have a ripple effect, driving a series of improvements,” he wrote.

The path to more retailers installing checkout-free technology isn’t crystal clear, but a few things are. “We know the impact one major player can have on the rest of the industry. Amazon launched a checkout-less shopping experience, and the rest of the grocery sector was clamoring for their own checkout-less solution almost immediately,” Cottreel noted. “We know checkout-less tech has far-reaching influence. … Finally, we know that commerce is no longer in-store or online. Checkout-less is changing retail in big ways, but it's also just the latest in a ‘commerce everywhere’ evolution.”

For more insight into how technology is changing the checkout lane, read “The ‘Vision’ of Future Checkout” in NACS Magazine.