Checkout-free shopping is undergoing a boom as the physical retail landscape shifts. according to research from RBR.
The number of stores across the world using checkout-free technology increased by three during 2021 to over 250.
In the majority of these cases, autonomous checkout solutions are installed within the physical infrastructure of the store and track customers as they move around.
Other retailers have deployed smart carts for larger basket sizes, which have the technology fitted to the carts themselves, including Amazon’s Dash Cart.
The US ecommerce giant has the largest number of checkout-free stores globally, mostly in the USA and the UK, with plans for expansion in these markets and others.
Amazon’s white label Just Walk Out (JWO) technology solution is prevalent in all of the companies checkout-free stores.
It has led the shift so far with JWO and has even started selling the technology to other retailers including Sainsbury’s, WHSmith, Hudson and Starbucks.
Other tech companies are seeking chunks of the market as well, including AiFi, Trigo – which has partnered with Tesco for its checkout-free store in London – and Zippin.
In addition, startups have been opening concept stores to showcase their own checkout-free offerings. To date, checkout-free stores have mainly been small in scale, with cart-based technology deployed in larger supermarket formats.
RBR forecasts the number of stores with checkout-free technology around the world will reach over 12,000 by the end of 2027.
Research shows that the US, China and other large European markets will see the strongest growth
The USA, China and large European markets will see the strongest growth in the number of checkout-free stores in the years ahead, with many other markets right across the world expected to see expansion too.
“Physical retail is undergoing unprecedented change, with retailers investing heavily in technologies to transform their stores, making customer journeys smoother, and helping to offset rising labour costs and shortages in several markets.”
“While the deployment of checkout-free technology in some countries has been faster than in others, these stores have been set up in every region across the world.”