Checkout-free stores now live in 20 countries across the world: RBR

Checkout-free stores now live in 20 countries across the world: RBR

The number of stores across the world using checkout-free technology increased threefold during 2021 to more than 250.

In most cases this is installed within the physical infrastructure of the store, tracking customers as they move around. Other retailers have deployed smart carts for larger basket sizes, which have the technology fitted to the carts themselves.

Amazon has the largest number of checkout-free stores globally, mostly in the USA and the UK, with plans for expansion in these markets and others. These locations use its Just Walk Out solution, although other retailers are also using the firm’s technology, including travel convenience store chain Hudson.

RBR’s research shows a wide range of suppliers are present in the market, with technology from firms such as AiFi, Zippin and Trigo live in an ever increasing number of stores.

A number of large supermarket chains, including Ahold Delhaize, REWE and Tesco, are also piloting the technology in existing outlets.

In addition, startups have been opening concept stores to showcase their own checkout-free offerings. To date, checkout-free stores have mainly been small in scale, with cart-based technology deployed in larger supermarket formats.

RBR forecasts the number of stores with checkout-free technology around the world will reach more than 12,000 by the end of 2027. If pilots at big box and grocery retailers are deemed successful there will be more extensive roll-outs across store networks.

The USA, China and large European markets will see the strongest growth in the number of checkout-free stores in the years ahead, with many other markets right across the world expected to see expansion too.

RBR’s Alex Maple said: “Physical retail is undergoing unprecedented change, with retailers investing heavily in technologies to transform their stores, making customer journeys smoother, and helping to offset rising labour costs and shortages in several markets.

“While the deployment of checkout-free technology in some countries has been faster than in others, these stores have been set up in every region across the world.”