Auchan’s Cashier-less Strategy
In an effort to speed up transactions, reduce friction to purchase and simplify the in-store shopping experience for customers, some retailers are doing away with an element of stores that has been a part of shopping since stores came into existence: the cashier.
The boom in artificial intelligence and mobile payments solutions have given rise to such concept stores. A decade or so ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a retail store without a cashier. But today, even brands like Starbucks and Amazon are experimenting with their own iterations on the concept.
Putting the ‘Convenient’ in Convenience Store
French retail group Auchan recently announced plans to open several hundred convenience stores in China, all without cashiers. The stores, dubbed “Auchan Minute,” will be diminutive in size, at just under 200 square feet each. They’ll offer upwards of 500 products for sale, including snacks, drinks and fruit, and will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Auchan Minute’s sales process will be built around an all-digital model, Auchan said in a statement as reported by GB Times. Customers will be able to access the stores using a scan code, and place their items in a virtual cart, checking out using leading Chinese payment apps WeChat or Alipay.
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Experimenting With a New Mobile Payments Service in Italy
Further demonstrating the company’s commitment to this new breed of cashier-less transactions, thousands of miles away in Italy, Auchan has also launched a mobile payment app in collaboration with MasterCard, called AuchanSpeedy, which allows customers to scan products in Auchan-branded stores under the customer loyalty program, LaTua!, and pay for them using their mobile devices, per European Supermarket Magazine (ESM).
Auchan’s portfolio of stores includes 48 Auchan hypermarkets, 1,500 supermarkets under names like Simply, IperSimply, PuntoSimply, Auchan and MyAuchan. The brand also has more than 60 Lillapois drug stores.
The initial test markets where the service is being rolled out in Italy include the MyAuchan store located in Milan, and the Auchan supermarket in Brescia. According to ESM, Auchan plans to activate 50 such points of sale by the end of 2018, saying the service guarantees “a simple, quick and safe shopping experience.”
Retailers have a multitude of technological tricks up their sleeve these days when it comes to revamping the shopping experience. By eliminating cashiers, companies save on payroll costs and facilitate dead-simple walk-in, walk-out shopping experiences, perfect for today’s busy consumer who might not have the time or inclination to stand in a line behind a cash register.
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