7-Eleven is the latest retailer to test out a cashierless checkout location, piloting a 700-square-foot non-traditional store for employees at its corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas.
To shop in the location, employees can download an app, sign up, check in at the store, enter the store, shop and exit. A detailed receipt appears automatically in the app after the customer exits.
A proprietary mixture of algorithms and predictive technology enables the store’s system to separate individual customers and their purchases from others in the store. The concept store offers an assortment of the most popular products sold in 7-Eleven stores, including beverages, snacks, food, groceries, over-the-counter drugs and non-food items. The product mix will continue to be refined and updated.
“Introducing new store technology to 7-Eleven employees first has proven to be a very productive way to test and learn before launching to a wider audience,” said Mani Suri, SVP and CIO of 7-Eleven in a statement. “They are honest and candid with their feedback, which enables us to learn and quickly make adjustments to improve the experience. This in-house, custom built technology by 7-Eleven engineers is designed for our current and future customers. We continue to innovate, and coupling fresh, innovative, healthy food options with a frictionless shopping experience could be a game-changer.”
This introduction in the cashierless space comes at an intriguing time for 7-Eleven, when governments in numerous major markets are enacting legislation prohibiting cashless stores. Most recently, New York City approved a bill requiring stores to accept cash, following in the footsteps of Philadelphia, San Francisco and the states of Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Known widely as a traditional convenience store with nearly 12,000 North American locations, 7-Eleven has sought to shed that image with a heavy focus on product and technology innovation. The convenience store opened its first “lab store” in Dallas last year to test new products, services and layouts.
In 2018, 7-Eleven introduced its mobile checkout “Scan & Pay” feature, allowing customers to skip the line and pay using their smartphone in stores at pilot locations.
The retailer also launched the 7NOW delivery app in 28 markets, enabling shoppers to place an order at the nearest participating 7-Eleven store and have items delivered to their specified address within 30 minutes. The retailer even integrated a voice component, 7Voice, within the app that’s available on Google Home and Amazon Echo.