Innovation and Adoption Speed: Stores Without a Checkout

The 7-Eleven convenience store chain, which has 68,236 outlets in 22 countries, has started to introduce a mobile checkout system in some parts of New York after several months in trials in 14 of its establishments in Dallas.

The system, known as Scan & Pay, differs significantly from that used by Amazon in its Amazon Go stores, which requires a huge number of cameras and sensors: instead, users download a 7-Eleven app to their smartphone, which scans the barcodes of purchases, which are then paid for using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a credit/debit card, then generating a QR code that is shown to a terminal at the exit.

The move is an attempt to avoid depositioning from changing consumer habits. Stores without a checkout are still rare, but Amazon Go’s plans to set up more than 3,000 establishments by 2021 has forced convenience stores to take measure to avoid becoming inconvenient and whose customers still have to stand in line to pay for their goods, or worse, that they just walk out without paying.

7-Eleven has found a low-cost solution: its customers scan their own purchases, except for alcohol and tobacco and lottery tickets, providing a speedy shopping experience, in addition to avoiding talking to anybody. The Apple Store has used a similar system for some time now.

Cashierless stores are now widely seen as inevitable. Companies like Walmart and Target have embarked on ambitious remodeling programs as part of an expensive race to adopt technological tools from different suppliers to provide similar user experiences, replacing checkout tills with cameras, either located in the store itself or on users’ phones. In technological terms, 7-Eleven’s move is not very interesting, but is part of the same trend, that of offering the user maximum convenience and minimum interaction. But above all, it has the potential to take the cashierless concept to no less than 68,236 stores in 22 countries, with all that this entails in terms of adoption dynamics. In the future, we will shop very differently…

This post was previously published on Enrique Dans and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Photo credit: Enrique Dans