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Cashierless Store: What You Need to Know

Cashierless stores are revolutionizing the retail industry. From their usage of electronic shelf labels and cashless payments, here are what you need to know.

Cashierless stores are revolutionizing the retail world. They may not be mainstream yet; however, as technology advances and the more it is used to improve retail operations, the more likely it is that cashierless stores will be a prominent feature in huge retail hubs and urban centers. But what exactly is a cashierless store? What does it mean for retailers and business owners? And how will it impact consumers?

What are cashierless stores?

Simply put, cashierless stores are retail establishments that utilize advanced technology to allow customers to shop and purchase items without the traditional checkout lines and cashiers. Cashierless stores are also known as unmanned stores, staffless stores, autonomous stores, self-service stores, automated retail stores, and more. These stores typically rely on a combination of technology and solutions to monitor the store, track the items being purchased, and automatically charge customers when they leave the store.


Some of the technologies used in a cashierless store include:


  • sensors
  • cameras
  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • machine learning algorithms
  • mobile applications
  • radio-frequency identification (RFID)
  • electronic shelf labels (ESL)


In cashierless stores, customers may need to download a store-specific mobile app, use a QR code to enter the store, or scan a debit card. Once inside, they simply pick up the items that they want and leave without needing to interact with a cashier or scan items. The store’s solutions automatically detect which items and goods were taken and add them to the customer’s virtual cart. The payment is then processed through the linked credit card or other payment method.


Cashierless stores have only started to enter the world of retail this decade. With the rapid modernization of various industries and the arrival of a global pandemic that has impacted societies, these cashierless stores are innovations that are changing the way people do retail.


A good example of a cashierless store is the 7-Eleven Shop & Go at Hive 2.0 in Singapore. This autonomous convenience store is equipped with smart cameras, deep learning, and multi-sensor fusion technologies. Amazon Go, on the other hand, is one of the most well-known examples of a cashierless store in the United States. These are Amazon’s cashierless and cashless stores which offer higher annual revenue than traditional convenience stores. Meanwhile, in Canada, Aisle 24 is reshaping the convenience store experience with its automated convenience stores. Here, customers use a mobile app to check in and an automated kiosk to check out with their items. Moby Mart in Shanghai is also taking the concept of cashierless stores further as an autonomous supermarket on wheels. This mobile store allows registered customers to swipe a QR code, pick up and scan grocery items into the app, and leave without cashier interactions.


These cashierless stores are slowly changing the way people have a retail shopping experience. They aim to create a smooth and safe encounter, streamline the shopping process, reduce wait times, and minimize labor costs for retailers.

Common features of a cashierless store

A cashierless store is a pinnacle of retail innovation. It blends various technologies and solutions to create a modern and autonomous shopping experience for its customers. Because of this, people might see new features and elements that are not seen in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.


Common features of a cashierless store typically include:


Sensor technology

Cashierless stores are equipped with a network of sensors installed on places like shelves, ceilings, or other strategic locations throughout the store. These sensors can include weight sensors, RFID tags, depth sensors, or pressure sensors. They track the movement and placement of items in the store in real time, allowing the system to know when an item has been taken from the shelf or returned.


Virtual carts

As customers shop, the store's system automatically adds the selected items to a virtual shopping cart associated with the customer's account or payment card. The virtual cart keeps track of the items in real time. They might also allow customers to review their selections before they leave and make adjustments if necessary. The virtual cart also serves as the basis for calculating the total amount due at checkout.


Automatic payment processing

Once customers have finished shopping and leave the store, the system automatically processes the payment for the items in their virtual cart. Payment is typically made using the payment information linked to the customer's account in a mobile app, or the credit card they swiped to get into the store. The specific manner usually depends on the technologies utilized by the cashierless store. This kind of payment process is seamless and requires no manual intervention from traditional customers.



High-resolution cameras, or smart cameras, are strategically placed throughout the store to capture images and monitor the shopping area. These cameras are often equipped with computer vision technology, which can analyze the visual data to identify products, track customer movements, and detect interactions with merchandise. These cameras play a crucial role in the accurate tracking of items and customers. They will help keep the shopping experience seamless and safe as well.


Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning

Advanced AI, or artificial intelligence, algorithms process the data collected from sensors and cameras in real time. These algorithms analyze the data to identify individual products, recognize customer behaviors, and detect any anomalies or discrepancies. Machine learning techniques are also often employed in a cashierless store to continuously improve the accuracy and efficiency of the system over time.


Mobile apps or QR codes

To access a cashierless store, customers typically need to download a dedicated mobile app provided by the retailer. Alternatively, they may use a QR code provided by the store. The app or QR code serves as the entry point to the store and is linked to the customer's payment information. It allows the store's system to identify and authenticate the customer as they enter the retail establishment and shop for items.


Self-checkout kiosks

Cashierless stores may also feature self-checkout kiosks where customers can scan for their items, double-check their item list for accuracy, and complete their payments. These kiosks might be found in cashierless stores without virtual automatic payment systems, mobile apps, or QR codes. Still, these kiosks allow for an autonomous shopping experience for modern consumers.


Digital labels or Electronic shelf labels (ESL)

Instead of traditional paper labels on the retail shelves, a cashierless store has digital labels or electronic shelf labels (ESL) to show accurate product prices. With ESL in place, there is no need for manual price changes and updates every week, and the synchronization of shelf labels and the payment system or kiosk is more accurate. Customers will also be able to interact with the labels and find out more details about the product, including ingredient lists, allergen warnings, expiration dates, and more. Digital labels in modern convenience stores like this will be able to complete the look of a modernized shopping experience.


Microwaves or Noodle makers

Cashierless convenience stores also often have microwave ovens or noodle-making stations. This is for customers who would like to reheat or cook food items they just bought. Noodle makers are usually a staple in self-service ramyeon shops or convenience stores, especially in South Korea, Thailand, and more.


Security measures

Cashierless stores employ various security measures as well to prevent theft and ensure the integrity of the system. This may include security cameras for surveillance, sensors to detect suspicious behavior, and algorithms to identify potential theft, tampering, and other criminal activities. Additionally, some stores may have a minimal number of staff members available to assist customers and address any issues that may arise.


Overall, these features work together to create a seamless and efficient shopping experience in every cashierless store. Together, they minimize the need for manual intervention and human interaction and reduce operational costs for the retailers.

Benefits of a cashierless store to retailers and business owners

Building and managing a cashierless store can be a different, yet rewarding experience. A cashierless store is a big change from traditional retail stores, however, it also brings a lot of benefits for retailers and business owners alike.


  1. Increased Efficiency: By eliminating the need for traditional checkout lines and cashiers, cashierless stores streamline the shopping process. Customers can quickly grab the items they need and leave the store without waiting in line. This leads to shorter wait times, increased customer satisfaction, and increased safety and welfare in a world recuperating from a global pandemic.
  2. Reduced Labor Costs: Cashierless stores require fewer staff members compared to traditional retail stores. With automated checkout systems handling transactions and solutions like ESL reducing manual price updates, retailers can reduce their labor costs associated with hiring and training staff. This can lead to significant savings in payroll expenses over time for retailers.
  3. Improved Inventory Management: The technology used in cashierless stores may enable real-time tracking of inventory levels. Retailers can monitor which products are being purchased, restock shelves as needed, and optimize their inventory based on customer preferences and buying patterns. This helps reduce instances of stockouts, overstocking, and even customer dissatisfaction. This leads to better inventory management and reduced waste for the retail store.
  4. Enhanced Data Analytics: Cashierless stores can collect vast amounts of data on customer shopping behaviors, preferences, and trends. Retailers can leverage this data to gain valuable insights into consumer habits, identify popular products, and tailor their offerings to meet customer demand better. Data analytics can also help retailers optimize pricing strategies for the store, enhance promotional campaigns, and improve store layouts for maximum profitability.
  5. Differentiation and Innovation: Adopting cashierless technology sets retailers apart from traditional competitors. This also demonstrates a commitment to innovation, retail modernization, and customer convenience. Cashierless stores offer a unique shopping experience that appeals to tech-savvy consumers, on-the-go customers, tourists, and other shoppers who prefer less human interaction. Of course, this also positions retailers as leaders or pioneers in the industry.
  6. Scalability and Adaptability: Cashierless technology is highly scalable and adaptable to different retail formats and environments. Whether it's a small convenience store or a local supermarket, cashierless systems can be customized to fit the specific needs and requirements of retailers. Additionally, as the technology continues to evolve, retailers can easily upgrade and expand their cashierless offerings to stay competitive in the market.

Benefits of a cashierless store to consumers

While cashierless stores continue to prove to be a worthwhile investment for retailers and business owners, consumers also benefit from these modern establishments. Here are some of the advantages a cashierless store brings to shoppers:


  1. Convenience and Faster Checkout: One of the primary advantages of cashierless stores is the convenience they offer. Customers can simply walk into the staffless store, pick up the items they need, and leave without having to wait in line or interact with a cashier. This streamlined shopping process reduces waiting time and makes the overall shopping experience more convenient for all kinds of customers, especially during busy periods or rush hours.
  2. No Need for Cash: Cashierless stores often allow customers to pay using the payment information stored in their mobile app or a card they need to swipe for entry. This eliminates the need for cash. This not only reduces the risk of theft or loss but also provides added convenience for customers who prefer to pay electronically.
  3. Improved Privacy: Cashierless stores offer a more private shopping experience compared to traditional stores, where customers may feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with cashiers. With cashierless technology, customers can shop anonymously without having to interact with store staff. This provides a greater sense of privacy and autonomy.
  4. Accurate Billing: The automated checkout systems used in cashierless stores are designed to accurately track the items customers select and charge them accordingly. This reduces the likelihood of errors or discrepancies in billing. Furthermore, some stores allow customers to double-check their item list, ensuring that they are only charged for the items they actually purchased.
  5. Innovative Shopping Experience: Cashierless stores offer a novel and innovative shopping experience that appeals to tech-savvy customers. The use of cutting-edge technology such as sensors, cameras, and AI algorithms creates a futuristic atmosphere that can be both exciting and engaging for customers.
  6. Health and Safety as Priority: Of course, cashierless stores also offer a safer alternative to traditional retail stores. People who are trying to cope with a post-pandemic world and would like less contact with people will find cashierless stores beneficial. Since there is minimal human staff, customers can stay safe and practice precautionary measures even in public places.

Customer behavior in cashierless stores

It’s also important to remember, however, that shoppers have various perceptions and behaviors when it comes to cashierless stores. They can range from positive to negative, which can potentially be challenging for retailers and business owners. They need to be able to anticipate these behaviors and obstacles.


  1. Increased Impulse Purchases: With the streamlined checkout process in cashierless stores, customers may be more inclined to make impulse purchases. The convenience of grabbing items and leaving without waiting in line can make it easier for customers to indulge in impulse purchases. This may lead to increased revenue for retailers.
  2. Accidental Item Misplacements: Customers might accidentally misplace items or return them to the wrong shelf. This can be expected, especially if they change their minds about a purchase. This can create challenges for the store's automated tracking system, which might lead to errors in inventory management and billing.
  3. Intentional Theft or Property Damage: While most customers are honest, there is a risk of intentional theft in cashierless stores. Some customers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in the system by concealing or stealing items without scanning them. This can already be seen in South Korea, where theft has been rampant in self-service stores. Property damage, like vandalism, also accounts for the number of crimes in Korean self-service stores. Wrongdoers might rely on the assumption that there are no traditional cashiers to monitor their actions and take advantage of a cashierless store.
  4. Tech Troubles and Frustration: Customers may encounter technical issues or glitches with the store's app or checkout system, leading to frustration and inconvenience. This could include problems with scanning QR codes, difficulties with payment processing, or inaccuracies in the virtual cart.
  5. Privacy Concerns: Some customers may feel uncomfortable with the level of surveillance and data collection involved in cashierless stores. They may be concerned about the store tracking their movements, analyzing their shopping habits, or storing their personal information.
  6. Resistance to Change: Not all customers may be comfortable with the concept of cashierless stores. This might be true for those who prefer traditional shopping experiences or are unfamiliar with mobile technology. They may be hesitant to adopt new technology or may express skepticism about the reliability and security of the system.
  7. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: On the other hand, satisfied customers may become loyal patrons of cashierless stores. They may appreciate the speed, convenience, efficiency, and innovative nature of the shopping experience. This can lead them to return to the store regularly and recommend it to others, strengthening the store’s brand exposure and customer loyalty.

SOLUM Solutions to Overcome Cashierless Store Challenges

Fortunately, retailers or business owners looking forward to overcoming certain challenges in a cashier store can rely on various SOLUM solutions. SOLUM brings retail innovations to different kinds of modern retail environments, including unmanned retail stores. Here are some SOLUM solutions that can contribute to a cashierless store:


Newton ESL

Newton ESL is SOLUM’s electronic shelf label solution for retail stores aiming for modernization. SOLUM ESL solutions like Newton are equipped with robust and state-of-the-art technology to help streamline retail operations. Retailers can expect features and capabilities such as:


  • Breakneck update speed for remote price updates
  • 7-page capacity for detailed product information
  • 7-color LED indicator for promotions or operational efficiency
  • Near-field communication (NFC) capability for mobile payments and self-checkouts
  • Multifunctional, programmable buttons for customer service or support
  • Freezer label variation for frozen and cold items


SOLUM Retail Lighting

SOLUM's Retail Lighting is also a must-have for modern retail environments like cashierless stores. With remote control capabilities, customizable settings, and aesthetic illumination, retail stores can implement quality lighting with minimal human intervention. It’s also equipped with energy-efficient LED lighting, various lighting fixtures, accurate color representation, and easy installation or maintenance. Overall, SOLUM Retail Lighting can provide an inviting atmosphere and elevate the shopping experience for customers.



Grocery store robots, on the other hand, might also be regarded as the future of retail. This is because they help improve efficiency and modernization in a retail environment. The SOLUM Robot is a smart robot solution developed for retailers with the goal of simplifying daily tasks and reducing time and labor for the retail staff. The SOLUM Robot is equipped with cameras, sensors, a touchscreen monitor, a geolocation system, and a central system to help analyze and monitor shelves. The SOLUM Robot can provide additional help and information in a cashierless store without any manual labor or human intervention from retail staff.


Cashierless stores are raising the standard and are creating a significant impact in the retail industry. But if you want your cashierless store to succeed in the market, you need the right solutions first. Talk to SOLUM experts today to learn how we can help you build a cashierless store that is streamlined, profitable, and fruitful.

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