Those that know about retail tech are excited about the growth we’ve seen with checkout-free shopping. Even those new to the digital transformation in retail are acutely aware of the consumer demand for more frictionless experiences, and the benefits associated with providing them. We’re emerging from a pandemic with an evolved set of expectations, and retailers are experiencing the ROI from having the right amount of automation and technology in place.
It was more than seven years ago that I was driving home and my wife called to let me know we were out of milk. I stopped at my favorite grocery store, took one step in, saw the long lines at the checkout, and made a U-turn. I couldn’t imagine standing in line for 10 minutes for one item. The retailer had done everything right. Their brand and marketing efforts brought me to the store, their operations team did a great job forecasting and stocking the right products on the shelf, but the sale didn’t take place. All because of the checkout bottleneck. That’s where the idea for Zippin was born, and since then its application in any space suffering from long lines has been met with joy. Not too surprisingly, no one seems to miss waiting in lines.
This month, Zippin hit a major milestone; stores equipped with our checkout-free technology have served over half a million shoppers in over 50 stores. Much of this was done in high-traffic areas like stadiums, transportation hubs or venues, where time is of the essence. Checkout-free tech has saved those customers over 83,000 hours to date, and with an upcoming collaboration with Atrium, a leader in campus card management solutions, we’re taking our technology to new markets, in new towns, and tapping into the mobile generation.
The Future of Retail is Frictionless
Retailers are under immense pressure to deliver fast, frictionless experiences for consumers, and this is especially true in high-traffic venues where time is limited. We recognize that speed can’t come at the expense of accuracy, so with each new store launch, Zippin’s AI improves its ability to provide the best experience for both retailers and shoppers, who are fast coming to expect this level of convenience. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to scale and scale quickly.
With more than 40 stores across the U.S.,10 internationally, and scores of stores set to open this summer, we are continuing to expand. Recent openings include two “Buzz City” Zippin Lanes inside the Spectrum Center, home to the Charlotte Hornets; one West Market store, at 4,000 square feet, our largest Zippin-powered convenience store featuring more than 2,500 different SKUs; and four additional Zippin-powered stores at a premier East Coast NBA arena.
What’s important to watch out for is the rapid rate of adoption by savvy retailers. We’re seeing multiple stores opening within the venues we currently serve, validating the upward trend. Our retail customers understand Zippin’s value proposition and see that multiple stores under one roof help to truly demonstrate the ROI and increased margins that checkout-free retail can deliver.
Zippin’s partnership with Atrium continues this theme. Zippin’s checkout-free technology is well suited for busy areas like college campuses, sports venues, airports, convention centers, amphitheaters, and convenience stores, and is a natural complement to Atrium’s proven card system technology. The partnership will deliver convenience and speed for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and flexible, quick-to-deploy AI technology for dining and retail operators.
Atrium President and CEO Tammy Johnson called the collaboration “the next step in this journey” to reimagine the campus card for the mobile generation. We’re both certain that students will embrace the convenience and operators will reap operational improvements.
Since that fateful day I failed to bring home the milk, we’ve succeeded in bringing a faster, hi-tech, convenient, AI-driven shopping experience to market, and we’re continuing to put the checkout line firmly behind us.