Retailers experiment with frictionless shopping concepts

As modern youth demonstrate a demand for speed across all of their interactions, brands are reassessing how they can reduce consumer pain points by creating frictionless shopping experiences. Earlier this year Amazon truly disrupted the retail industry with Amazon Go, its cashierless store, and now other brands are experimenting with variations on merging mobile pay and a “just walk out” policy to reinvigorate their brick-and-mortar offerings. 


Chic healthy beverage brand Dirty Lemon recently opened an innovative brick-and-mortar retail concept called The Drugstore in NYC (not to be confused with their earlier non-alcoholic cocktail bar pop up with the same name). The Drugstore could technically be considered more “frictionless” than even Amazon Go, as customers don’t need to scan a QR code when they exit; shoppers merely walk in, grab a bottled beverage, and text the brand what they picked up at their convenience—their credit card is charged later once they’ve set up a Dirty Lemon account. To keep everyone honest, RFID trackers and cameras aggregate quantifiable data on what consumers are purchasing. 


UK-based grocery chain Sainsbury’s is testing cashierless shopping at the retailer’s busy Clapham location. Shoppers scan their selections with Sainsbury’s SmartShop app as they browse before scanning a QR code when they leave the store and subsequently pay via ApplePay, all at their convenience. Despite this pilot’s state of the art technology, self-service and manned checkouts are still present, and store associates are on hand to remove security tags from protected items. Having multiple checkout options is a smart way to test the frictionless retail experience, especially as young consumers still prefer to shop for products in store versus online.


Ricker’s, a smaller regional chain of convenience stores based out of Indiana, partnered with Skip, a developer of mobile self-checkout apps, to equip 58 of its retail locations with cashierless checkout. The initiative, which lowers staffing requirements and provides an easier adoption point for the cashierless experience than a grocery store—where customers run into problems when they have to bag and weigh their produce before checking themselves out—reflects the growing trend of cashierless convenience stores popping up in Asia