This week, the first-ever cashierless store opened in the UK: a Sainsbury’s Local supermarket that is experimenting with using the brand’s Scan, Pay & Go smartphone technology instead of tills and cashiers.
The approach is nothing new (Amazon launched their first cashless store in January 2018) and a number of retailers offer mobile checkout in conjunction with manned and automated checkout tills. However, a significant move for a traditional brand to go 100% mobile scan and checkout.
Given such stores are fully wifi connected, it also enables customers to fully consult their mobile phone before making a purchase, important given some 82% do this. Connected customers can also be guided to their selected (or store suggested) product and bespoke promotions overlaid.
These benefits combine to improve the user experience and raise RoI at multiple levels, for example, raised conversion and basket value, reduced overheads and increased available floor space.
Win win. However, I rarely see people using their mobile phones to scan purchases and checkout. Retailers need to ensure a frictionless experience and also promote usage in order to rapidly increase adoption.
This is one of the many innovations that have led some experts to speculate that the UK – along with other regions of the world like Eastern Europe and South-East Asia – is rapidly heading towards a cashless economy. While we are still a long way from seeing the first cashless societies emerge – if they even do – it is true that contactless payment technologies like mobile payment are seeing increasing adoption all over the world, as brands find innovative ways to allow their customers to book, pay and check out with more convenience. When delivered effectively, these alternative payment methods have the ability to change the offline user experience as well as online, as they radically transform the way we carry out everyday tasks like paying for groceries, buying petrol or gas, eating at restaurants and more.