As the Economy Reopens, Three Ways Checkout-Free Technology Can Make Shopping Safer

By Krishna Motukuri - February 24, 2021

COVID case numbers are declining, vaccines are rolling out, and the economy is reopening as we hopefully approach the end of the pandemic winter. It’s clear that we have to adapt our lives to take COVID-19 into account, and it will remain a predominant concern for retailers who need to keep their employees and shoppers safe. With consumers eager to return to normalcy after a full year of lockdowns and social distancing, retailers are looking at checkout-free technology as part of the solution to help reassure people that stores are safe places to shop. Zippin’s checkout-free technology offers a number of features and key benefits that help retailers provide a safe shopping experience in this environment.

1. Faster Shopping Time, Less Crowds  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been advised to avoid crowds and reduce the amount of time they spend in indoor environments like stores. Our checkout-free technology helps customers “zip in” and out of the store, with faster, more efficient shopping trips. By spending less time in the store, less time in the aisles, and zero time standing in line, checkout-free retail platforms can help reassure customers that they are staying safe. 

For instance, a typical lunch time trip to a convenience or grocery store for a quick grab-and-go sandwich takes 4.5 minutes. In a Zippin-powered convenience store, the average shopping trip is only 45 seconds. Not only do shoppers get done in one-sixth of the time, they also are able to avoid close contact with other people - there is no need for interaction with store staff or a checkout line. 

Zippin is already seeing these results, as its retail partners are expanding the hours of their checkout-free stores. One of Zippin’s retail partners had been previously operating two stores in the same office building: a larger store with a cashier, and a smaller checkout-free Zippin store in a different part of the building. In response to strong customer demand, the retailer has expanded the hours for the Zippin-powered store, and reduced hours for the conventional store. Customers clearly prefer the faster, safer checkout-free experience. 

2. Opening Up Omnichannel Opportunities 

Online shopping and curbside pickup have become significantly more popular during the pandemic. These changes in consumer behavior are likely to continue after the pandemic ends. Checkout-free technology makes it possible for retailers to change the way they utilize their retail space. Instead of using a store solely as a destination for in-person shopping, checkout-free platforms help transform the space into a multi-channel retail micro-fulfillment center for online orders, or a destination for 3rd party delivery services.  

By changing the way retailers use their space, checkout-free technology can help retailers adapt to consumer demand while reducing crowds and eliminating lines in the store environment. 

3. Faster Counting & Restocking for a Safer Work Environment

Checkout-free technology not only helps customers stay safe, it helps create a safer work environment for retail store staff. Zippin’s checkout-free technology provides better inventory tracking and faster restocking. A typical convenience store might need three hours per day to do inventory counts and stock shelves. Zippin’s technology makes it possible to do real-time inventory tracking and replenish inventory during less-crowded hours. 

By timing the inventory restocking for hours of the day when there are fewer shoppers in the aisles, this can help store staff avoid close contacts with customers and have a safer work environment. 

We all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks and social distancing. There will likely be ongoing local outbreaks of COVID-19, even as the nationwide vaccination rollout ramps up. Checkout-free retail technology helps retailers demonstrate that their stores are safe places to shop. And beyond the pandemic, checkout-free retail can give customers faster shopping trips, no checkout lines, more efficient inventory tracking, and an adaptable store format that meets customer demand for all kinds of shopping, in-person or online. 


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