3 Ways Shopping Is Becoming More Frictionless

Texting to shop and much faster checkout times are in the near future.

January 05, 2022

Using a Phone to Shop

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Technology is improving the shopping experience for consumers, including shortening how long they spend in line and filling out payment details when shopping online, reports Fast Company. Here are three ways shopping will be less time-consuming and more seamless.

Texting to Shop: In Asia, along with other parts of the world, customers can purchase the products they want by texting the company or store they want to buy from. The technology has not yet gained traction in the U.S., but companies are starting to develop technology to enable the feature.

“Asian consumers tend to adopt technologies earlier than we do here in the States,” said Melissa Bridgeford, co-founder of Wizard Commerce, a text-to-shop platform set to launch in 2022. “But the fact that conversational, text-based commerce is so popular in Asia suggests that it could also take off here. And we believe that the time is right for American consumers to try this new approach to shopping.”

Wizard Commerce will allow customers to text a brand and have a conversation about what products they are interested in purchasing, and consumers can even text an image of a particular product to the brand’s number and chat about buying it. If customers decide to buy the product, they are taken to a secure website for payment.

Seamless Online Payment: 60% of consumers don’t complete their online purchase because they can’t remember their password or don’t want to input their credit card details. A startup called Fast allows customers to purchase from any e-commerce site with one click and no log in required.

Retailers can install Fast’s system in less than one hour, allowing them to add “buy buttons” to products. Brands like Ski Haus and Gerard Cosmetics were early adopters of Fast and have seen an increase in conversation rates after installing the buttons.

Fast says its aim is to create a secure online identity for consumers, so they can then use Fast for their shopping needs. “It’s vitally important for us to build trust with customers by making it clear that we’re protecting their data and not using it for any other purposes,” Fast founder Domm Holland told Fast Company.

Virtual Checkout: Americans spend a collective 37 billion hours waiting in line annually, Fast Company says. Self-checkout can help speed up the process, but friction begins to happen when items don’t have bar codes, such as fruit, or if a bar code isn’t in an obvious place on the item and time is spent searching for it. Checkout-free technology speeds this up, and c-stores are beginning to implement this technology, while Amazon has been using the technology for some time with its Amazon Go stores.

Mashgin, a startup founded in 2013, offer customers instant self-checkout without scanning barcodes, which speeds up the line. By using computer vision, Mashgin’s technology rings up every item in a transaction at once. Customers simply place their items down and in half a second, they are ready to pay. Mashgin says that its average transaction time for convenience stores is about 22 seconds—nearly twice as quick as the average cashier and four times faster than traditional self-checkout. Learn more about Mashgin’s checkout technology in “Faster Checkout With Fewer Staff” in the May 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.

NACS also offers a free webinar “Self-Checkout Innovations in Convenience Retailing,” where Alan Meyer, chief executive officer at Meyer Oil Company, talks about how his company successfully implemented and continues to innovate in self-checkout. NCR, the global leader in self-checkout, also shares self-checkout innovations that are being implemented around the globe in convenience retailing. Pre- and post-pay fuel transactions, loyalty acceptance, cash acceptance and age ID verification are all discussed.

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