In the news: Leveling up convenience in the c-store

by Amazon Web Services Retail Editorial Team | on

This story was produced by  C-Store Dive  for Amazon.

By the very name, c-stores are intended to be fast and convenient.  The average consumer spends three to four minutes in the store . It helps that when most consumers enter stores, they already know what they plan to buy.

But that convenience can be derailed when the consumer sees a long checkout line. Unfortunately, the consumer’s perception of “long” isn’t always very generous. One  study found that 15% of consumers would abandon nonessential purchases if they had to wait longer than one minute. Half of them said they would leave after just 30 seconds of waiting.

However, technology can make even 30 seconds of waiting in line a thing of the past.  Just Walk Out technology by Amazon is a vivid example of this convenience. In stores powered by Just Walk Out technology, consumers can pick up what they need and simply go – bypassing the checkout line completely. Amazon implemented this technology in their own convenience store, Amazon Go, as well as third-party c-stores and convenience retailers across travel retail, sports stadiums and live event venues.

Just Walk Out technology helps c-store operators deliver on their promise of a fast, convenient shopping experience while allowing them to set their vision for the consumer journey, explained Jon Jenkins, Vice President, Just Walk Out technology by Amazon. “We want c-stores to have the flexibility to design their end-to-end store journey. C-stores can define the functions they want to incorporate, including the entry and exit experience, post-purchase consumer experience, product pricing and payment method,” he said.

Technology in action

To enter a Just Walk Out technology-enabled store, consumers can insert or tap a credit card, use an app or digital wallet or hover their palm over an  Amazon One  device.

Amazon One is a palm-based identity solution that helps businesses simplify a range of consumer experiences, from payment to access. Consumers new to Amazon One can register in seconds. Once registered, they can use their palm to enter and pay for their things at any location with Amazon One.

“Once inside the store, consumers shop like normal,” Jenkins said. “Anything the consumer takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart; anything they put back on the shelf is removed from their virtual cart. For example, if they take a soda off a shelf, it goes into their virtual cart and they’ll be charged for it when they’re done shopping and leave the store.”

Remove the hassle of checking out

To make the store experience faster, many c-stores have implemented self-checkout systems. While that approach may reduce the number of cashiers and offers consumers more options to check out, it introduces friction to the consumer experience.

With self-checkout systems, consumers must find the item barcode, scan it or enter it manually and then switch from the point-of-sale device to the payment device to make the purchase. Many steps in that self-checkout process can go wrong– and often do. When consumers expect a quick trip, having a hiccup in the checkout process–or being stuck behind someone in line who’s experiencing a hiccup–can be frustrating and irritating.

In contrast, Just Walk Out technology removes the hassle of checking out while helping c-stores gain operational and staff efficiencies. “With no line and nothing to scan, consumer frustration is minimized because consumers can enter, shop and go at their own pace,” says Jenkins.

Optimize operations and drive performance

Just Walk Out technology provides multiple benefits for c-store retailers. By eliminating checkout lines, staff can focus on delivering positive experiences. “Staff can spend more time assisting consumers, answering questions, helping to locate items and restocking shelves as needed, rather than operating checkouts and manually processing payments. The technology helps c-stores shift employees from transactional, repetitive functions to more engaging, consumer-centric ones.”

Just Walk Out technology also helps c-stores maximize their space productivity. C-stores are traditionally small format stores. By removing the space dedicated to a traditional point-of-sale system, which is typically in a high-visible area, c-stores can reallocate that space for more and better product placements and promotions.

Additionally, with Just Walk Out Analytics, c-stores can get insights on how products are considered, picked up, returned to the shelf and purchased across their Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores.

Think about an e-commerce site. Retailers can see what products are clicked on first, frequently viewed together and ultimately purchased. Just Walk Out Analytics provides c-store leaders with a similar level of insight for their brick-and-mortar stores. Just Walk Out Analytics helps c-stores gain a scalable, data-driven view of product interactions across the store and by shelf, fixture and product category. This insight can help c-stores improve product assortment and placements, drive operational efficiencies and enhance the store experience for their consumers.

Consumers and c-stores share similar goals. They both want store experiences that make shopping easy. “Just Walk Out technology creates a win-win,” Jenkins said. “It eliminates checkout lines so consumers can easily get in, purchase the things they need and get going with their busy lives. That’s what the technology enables and we look forward to offering this experience to more and more customers.”

Learn more  about Just Walk Out technology by Amazon and Amazon One for c-stores.