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Friday, April 16, 2021

What is Cashier-less Retail or Autonomous Retail Technology?

Cashier-less retail technology is a physical store that acts as an online store. It says what it means, here there will be no cashier or presence of humans to checkout and bill your products. In such autonomous stores, there will be no one to bill you; you get what you want and get going.

What is Cashier-less Retail or Autonomous Retail Technology? 

Ever since the first exchange of products, there has been a consistent transaction between buyers and sellers, whether it be in bartering form or pure money form. It has boosted the commerce industry and especially the retail sector. The retail sector in the past and even today includes the buyer and the seller. Still, due to vast development in technology and less overall cost, the trend of Cashier-less or Autonomous retail technology has originated. 

Cashier-less retail technology is a physical store that acts as an online store. It says what it means, here there will be no cashier or presence of humans to checkout and bill your products. In such autonomous stores, there will be no one to peep you; you get what you want and get going. This means no more checkout queues or wastage of time. Here you can literally pick up an item and pay for it later. All the items you grab will be added to the cart automatically, and then you can see a list of your purchases on the app and pay for it through the app or a single scan enough. Not just that, the items that you accidentally pick up can be kept back, and you won’t be charged for it. 

Such autonomous retail stores are equipped with Artificial Intelligence, sensors, and several cameras to track the behavior. The Cashier-less autonomous retail technology has seen a boost since last year. Today even in some developing countries, the concept has been initiated.

What Companies or Places in India have Cashier-less and Autonomous Retail Technology?

Back in 2016, Amazon was the first to tease the Cashier-less autonomous retail technology. The concept then came into existence in 2018, where everyone went crazy about the new technology. Then soon after, many businesses such as Zippin, Inokyo, and some Chinese stores adopted the technology. 7-Eleven is experimenting with the idea of a cashless shop at its Texas headquarter.

In India, the first-ever Cashier-less retail store was Watasale, started in 2018 and it is located in Kerala. The store has its own application that can be used for scanning and tracking purchases. Till today there has been no other Cashier-less store in the Indian market rather than Watasale.

Can we Expect Wider Adoption in India and When?

Yes, indeed, the technology is currently not widely adopted in the Indian market, but it is soon expected to grow in the future. As of now, there is only a single retail store in India that is operating the Cashier-less method, and according to them, the technology is economical in the long run. Initially, a huge investment is to be made, but once everything is established, all the extra charges such as labour cost, machinery, and employee salaries will no more be a liability of the owner. Customers have also given positive feedback on the Cashier-less store as they no more have to wait in long queues for billing the products. 

Considering all the positive feedback about the autonomous store, we expect the wider adoption of such stores in the future. In fact, Amazon is also said to expand its autonomous retail store by the end of 2020, we aren’t sure if it would come to India but still at least by 2021 there should be one autonomous store in major cities in India. Probably in 2021, we’ll see more Cashier-less stores in the country. 

What are the Problems in Implementing in India?

Today the Indian retail market mainly has workers and some skilled executives that work in the store. In order to implement a complete autonomous technology, there are several limitations that suggest that an autonomous store is still a long way to go. 

The major problem in implementing a Cashier-less Autonomous retail store is the huge initial investment and acceptance of the technology. In India, most of the retail stores appoint staff that guides and helps the customer in purchasing a particular product. Because of this, the retail store owners would prefer staff instead of AI-based machines. 

Other than this, people still have numerous queries before purchasing a product, and because of this, it won’t be possible for some of the customers to just pick up the product and get going. Today especially in supermarkets, there is a separate staff appointed for helping the customers in purchasing decisions, and with a complete autonomous store, it won’t be possible. 

What is Impact Positive and Negative Impact When Cashier-less and Autonomous Retail Technology is Implemented?

The Cashier-less Autonomous retail technology is really good for a complete, but it also has its own pros and cons. There are several positive and negative impacts of Cashier-less and Autonomous retail technology.

The Advantages of the Autonomous Retail Stores are:

Overall Less Investment:  The owner has to invest a certain sum of money at the initial stage, but later, he doesn’t need to spend much. All the staff and worker charges will be gone.

No Queue: On the other hand, the consumers also have a plus here, and they no need to wait longer in the queues for billing. All this saves a ton of time for both consumers and the retail store owner. 

If we Move to Some of the Negative Impacts of Autonomous Retail Technology

Shoplifting: Shoplifting in Indian supermarkets and malls has been growing, and according to a Deccan Herald report,  At several supermarkets, managers put their monthly loss to shoplifting at between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh.

Customer Acceptance: There’s also the customer acceptance and understanding of the technology. In India, a new technology takes time to be understood and adopted completely; therefore, it is a general issue for the customer and even for some retail stores. 

Technical Problems: The Cashier-less Autonomous retail store can also be quite hectic as well, and sometimes some of the machines and cameras might stop working, which may lead to a temporary shutdown of the store to fix the technology.

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