Tesco must not lose human touch as it moves to checkout-free stores
Tesco is trialling checkout-less stores, it emerged this week. The technology, which is being developed in partnership with Israeli startup Trigo Vision, was showcased at a Tesco Express store during a capital markets day earlier this month.
Whilst such innovation is unarguably impressive, and spells a bright future for the retail industry, some consumers still prefer the reassurance of human interaction – and this need should not be ignored. So says Manu Tyagi, retail expert at Infosys Consulting.
“In 2015 Morrisons reintroduced human-staffed checkouts for small shopping baskets – a move away from the wave of automated, self-service tills that had become commonplace. It turns out that people quite enjoy everyday interactions with the smiling checkout operator, advice from knowledgeable shop assistants, and just bumping into friends in the local supermarket queue,” he comments.
He adds: “Tesco’s move towards checkout-free stores has cemented the fact that the way we shop is being amplified by technology – all to adapt to changing consumer behaviour. Despite this, it’s important not to underestimate the power of human interaction. With the future of retail on our doorstep, the real question is how to ensure it remains appealing and convenient for future consumers.”
Also this month, Zippin reopened its checkout-free concept store in San Francisco.
This launched in August of last year, but as more of a working lab that was operational for limited hours. It is now open to the public, after Zippin worked on the technology and remodelled the space “to offer the best-possible shopping experience to our neighbours in the up-and-coming East Cut ‘hood.”
“Our store facelift is just one of a number of exciting developments for Zippin this year,” the company wrote in a blog post. “As a technology provider helping large retailers quickly and efficiently deploy frictionless shopping experiences, that can easily handle busy shopping environments and a variety of retail formats, we continue to experience a deluge of interest from around the world.”
Zippin says that it is working with (unnamed) pilot customers who will be debuting stores powered by its checkout-free technology over the coming months. Check out our recent interview with Founder and CEO Krishna Motukuri here.