There has been a noticeable trend in the retail world of late. Automation has taken hold of the industry and, more specifically, self-serve has emerged as a leading business model.
The biggest name in the self-serve game is Amazon, who recently unveiled their Amazon Go grocery store. Amazon Go is essentially a brick-and-mortar store concept minus shopping lines. This type of shopping represents the future to many big box retailers (and consumers too) and different industries are witnessing an influx of businesses that are not only willing to entertain this type of concept, but actually adopt it.
As Forbes reported in an article published just yesterday, with a simple app, shoppers scan their smartphones when they enter a store, and the company’s detection technology tracks items that have been removed from the shelves, charging a customer’s account when they leave.” With Amazon Go, the app is connected to a user’s amazon account.
Self-serve shopping is the most recent signal amid the increasing noise about artificial intelligence and its impact on work. Similarly, fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Hardee’s, and Carl’s Jr. recently disclosed their plans to eliminate cashiers in their stores. Humans are inconspicuously (and increasingly) missing from the purchasing equation in many establishments in an attempt to not only save time by expediting the ordering process, but ultimately save money as well.
So, what are the problems associated with this new type of shopping? The New York Times brought up potential issues concerning automated payment models in an article that was posted a few weeks ago, saying that, “Unanswered for now are questions about how the stores would handle shoplifting and whether there would be employees on hand to check identification cards for alcohol purchases.”
Security and fraud are also big concerns and keeping sensitive user information private will be of the utmost importance going forward. However, the bottom line is that companies like Amazon and others see more benefits than potential problems associated with grab-and-go shopping and other automated processes like it, and the streamlined, efficient results are more than worth the effort.
National Merchants Association is proud to partner with merchants of all types, including those that are on the cutting edge of technology utilizing a self-serve approach. Contact NMA today to learn more about how we can help you and your business.