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Is Scan-and-Go the Future of Retail?

Cashierless stores, like Amazon Go, have great potential to shake up the brick-and-mortar landscape. According to GPShopper, 48% of US internet users believe scan-and-go technology would make shopping easier. And 43% would rather try scan-and-go than wait in a checkout line. Respondents said they'd be most interested in scanning groceries, home goods and fashion items.

Similar findings were reported by RIS News, which asked US digital buyers which new shopping options—ranging from drone delivery to augmented reality in-store—they would most like to use. Grab-and-go stores with self-checkout was the leading response, with 59% of respondents saying they’d use it.

But a world without cash, credit cards or even a mobile wallet isn’t here yet. Here’s what retailers need to know about how to get there.

Amazon Go Is Setting the Standard

A “just walk out” experience is why lots of consumers are gravitating toward Amazon Go—and why many other retailers, including Macy’s and Kroger, have come up with similar solutions.

Research from MuleSoft found that 60% of internet users worldwide would prefer to shop at other retailers if they offered an Amazon Go-like experience. Not surprisingly, this method resonated most with the 18-to-34 group. But close to half of the 55-and-older cohort also claimed it as a preference.

One Big Roadblock: Consumer Theft

In May 2018, Walmart shelved Scan & Go—its cashierless checkout technology. The reason it gave back then? Low adoption rates. But a recent report from Business Insider paints a very different picture.

"You think that the theft is bad on self-checkouts? Wait until you try Scan & Go, where nobody is watching the customers out in the aisles," former Walmart employee Joel Larson, who spearheaded that initiative, told Business Insider.

The Future of Checkout

The future of frictionless checkout probably looks like Amazon Go, and it will rely heavily on computer vision to identify the buyer and what they’re grabbing from the shelves.

“But even Amazon hasn’t perfected the technology for large store formats,” said eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman. “Until then, it looks like self-scan at checkout will be the winning technology over scan-and-go on your smartphone.”