Amazon is going big, literally, with its “Just Walk Out” cashierless checkout system. The chain has opened its largest-yet Amazon Fresh grocery store with the technology, the Chicago Sun Times reported Thursday (Nov. 4).
The store, located in Westmont, Illinois, is 35,000 square feet, and it features two checkout options. Consumers can check out by scanning an Amazon app QR code upon entry, shopping as usual, and having items automatically charged to their accounts using the retailer’s sensor and computer vision technology. Alternatively, shoppers can use traditional checkout lanes if they prefer.
Amazon has implemented its Just Walk Out system at its own stores and made the product available to other businesses. Most recently, reports surfaced that Starbucks has been in talks with the company to create cafes using frictionless checkout technology.
Additionally, in the past month, Tesco, the largest grocery chain in the United Kingdom, and Aldi, the Essen, Germany-based global discount grocery chain, both made headlines for partnering with Tel Aviv-based computer vision startup Trigo to bring cashierless checkout options to their stores.
Frictionless checkout technologies such as these maximize the benefits that consumers look for in self-service options. PYMNTS’ study, Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation, created in collaboration with Toshiba, which surveyed over 2,500 U.S. consumers about their shopping behaviors, found that more than two-thirds of grocery shoppers utilizing self-service checkout report doing so because they believe it is faster than traditional checkout. Plus, more than half of grocery’s self-checkout users are motivated by the option to skip the traditional checkout line.
Circle K Launches Cashierless Checkout at Six Stores
In related news, Circle K, the Couche-Tard-owned convenience store chain with over 12,000 locations across 26 countries, announced Tuesday (Nov. 2) that it is rolling out similar frictionless checkout technology in six of its Arizona stores in the greater Tucson area, partnering with technology provider Grabango.
“We are passionate about exploring technology that empowers our store teams and helps make our customers’ lives a little easier every day,” Magnus Tägtström, head of global digital innovation at Couche-Tard, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to seeing Grabango’s autonomous checkout solution support our ongoing efforts to make the store experience as seamless and frictionless as possible for our on-the-go customers.”
Yair Holtzer, vice president of business development at Trigo, argued in an interview with PYMNTS that cashierless checkout can boost the metrics most important to grocers’ success in today’s competitive marketplace.
“[Consumers] say that, in the beginning, it feels like stealing, but then you get addicted to the feeling,” Holtzer said. “People want the experience to be smooth as possible … You can find hundreds of studies that show that, when the experience of your shopping is better, whether it’s online or physical, then the loyalty of the customer increases, the traffic of visits increases, the size of basket increases … and also the conversion for new customers increases.”
Publix Joins Instacart’s 30-Minute Digital C-Store Initiative
On Thursday, Lakeland, Florida-based supermarket chain Publix, which has 1,286 stores throughout the southeastern United States, expanded its partnership with Instacart to enable a 30-minute food and essentials delivery, per a joint news release.
The program, Publix Quick Picks, first launched in September at a location in Tampa, Florida. With this rollout, the option expands to stores across the markets in which Publix operates. The announcement follows similar Instacart partnerships with Stop & Shop, Kroger, Giant, Albertsons Companies and others.
“Since launching Publix Quick Picks on Instacart, we’ve seen rapid customer adoption,” Erik Katenkamp, Publix vice president of omnichannel and application development, said in a statement. “Our strong relationship with Instacart continues to unlock capabilities to meet the changing needs of our customers, and we look forward to continuing to grow our portfolio of time-saving services.”
Buyk Doubles Its NYC Presence
Also in rapid delivery news, Buyk, a 15-minute grocery delivery service started by the founders of Russia’s Samokat express food and essentials delivery service, which launched in New York in September, announced Thursday that it has doubled its presence in the city from 10 dark stores to 20.
The move comes as demand for quick and convenient online grocery options is on the rise. PYMNTS’ report, What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, produced in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, featured a census-balanced survey of over 2,300 U.S. consumers from June 2021, found that 34% of grocery shoppers buy online, and 18% rank this method as their most preferred way to purchase groceries. Plus, the study found that 76% of consumers who have been buying their groceries online more often are doing so because they believe it is easier and more convenient, and 57% do so because it is faster.
“While humans once had to fetch water from a well, we have long since developed systems to deliver this essential resource straight to taps in our homes,” Buyk Co-founder and CEO Slava Bocharov told PYMNTS in a recent interview. “We believe that, as ultrafast grocery delivery becomes more widely available, it will come to be seen as a crucial piece of infrastructure for daily life in much the same way.”