In an age defined by technological advancements, the world of retail is undergoing a profound transformation. Automation, once relegated to the realms of manufacturing and industrial, is now making its presence felt on the shop floor. From self-checkout kiosks to mobile orders, technology is reshaping the way consumers shop and retailers operate.
That being said, the newest industry trend within the atmosphere of shopping technology includes the concept of Fully Automated Retail Stores. Although at first glance, it seems to be describing a vending solution or kiosk, what is being referred to here is a brick-and-mortar where shoppers can enter the premises of a tangible real estate and have a hands-on interaction with their desired product line, without the need for any cashiers or any employee supervision.
The introduction of automation in the shopping experience has revolutionized the ease and convenience of retail. It's no wonder that 73% of consumers prefer self-checkout over traditional checkout lines, and a staggering 85% of Gen Z consumers opt for self-checkout when it's available (Gitnux Blog, 2023). Not only does this technology enhance the customer experience, but it also has practical benefits for retailers. For example, mass retailers like Sainsbury's in the UK have seen waiting times reduced by up to 70% since implementing self-checkout systems (Gitnux Blog, 2023). According to Statista, the projected market for global retail automation is expected to soar from $12.2 billion in 2021 to a staggering $33 billion in 2030. These figures highlight the growing demand and potential for automated retail solutions.
From the very beginning, Signifi Solutions set out to revolutionize the retail industry through automation. Our focus was on creating a seamless customer experience using self-serve kiosks powered by automation and robotics. Over the years, we have continuously improved and advanced our offerings through our in-house hardware and software engineering expertise. Today, we are thrilled to introduce the latest addition to our retail solution lineup - the Signifi Smart Gate. This groundbreaking self-checkout gate system encompasses the concept of a fully automated retail store, taking our vision to the next level.
Just as the name suggests, Smart Gate enables customers within a retail setting to enter a physical brick-and-mortar, acquire their desired goods, and check-out through a gated apparatus that will strictly open up upon payment. Our POS system and the sensors we have designed know exactly which products and how many of these products have been taken from off the shelves and added into the carts of the shopper. And just like the rest of our solutions, the entirety of the process is completely automated, without the need for any employee supervision.
Undoubtedly, this is the future of retail and the Smart Gate is a progressive evolution of the traditional checkout lane and cashier system in order to meet the newfound demands for streamlined processes that are desired in one’s shopping journey. And while e-commerce platforms are celebrated for such elements, our solution provides a channel to experience a mid-ground between the ease of self-service and the hands-on user experience that has been a staple of the atmosphere in retail.
Here are some of the benefits of Signifi’s Smart Gate for both the customer as well as for retail businesses.
1. Convenience: Through a gated and self-operated system, customers can now enjoy a brand new experience of retail with a new level of convenience without ever having to wait in lines, contributing to a smoother shopping expedition. And for those with only a few items, the gate offers a quick alternative for traditional checkout, particularly useful for customers on-the-go or during peak shopping hours.
2. Security: Currently, the deterrence of theft at traditional self-checkout lines are enforced through sensory alarms which may or may not result in the shoplifter being halted, and even if they are, security personnel are required to verify the payment or lack thereof through a process of matching the goods carried by the customer to the paper receipt that they present. On the other hand, through a self-checkout gate system, customers are unable to physically leave the premises without payment.
3. Privacy: Some shoppers would prefer to keep their purchases confidential for personal reasons. Fortunately, the self-service capabilities of our smart gate allows for this, giving shoppers the option of retail without any face-to-face interaction from a cashier.
4. Costs: By reducing the need for many staffed cash registers, retailers can significantly lower their labour expenses. Not only does this reduce the total amount of staff required, it also frees up existing personnel if manual oversight is required for other tasks, such as restocking shelves or providing customer assistance.
5. Enhanced Customer Experience: Again, the Self-Checkout Gate allows customers to enjoy all the convenient aspects of online shopping all while allowing individuals to see, interact, and try out their desired products in-person.
With these compelling reasons, Smart Gate will forever transform the way consumers interact with stores and make purchases, offering unparalleled convenience, empowerment, and efficiency to shoppers. Moreover, it presents retailers with valuable opportunities to optimize their operations and enhance customer satisfaction. As we embark on this journey of automation and self-service technology becoming the new norm, we eagerly anticipate which forward-thinking retailers will seize the chance to embrace our solution and reap its benefits in the near future.