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4 Mindset Barriers to Implementing an Autonomous Store & How to Overcome Them

Explore the top four barriers to implementing an autonomous store and uncover effective solutions to overcome them.

Have you ever considered building a new autonomous store or retrofitting your existing shop to become cashierless? Implementing an autonomous store can seem like a lofty task, but it doesn’t have to be! Let us put it into perspective for you.

Let’s be real—the worst part about shopping in person is having to wait in line for longer than it took you to find the items you need. According to a recent survey, 71% of shoppers find long lines and crowds the most frustrating aspect of shopping at physical stores. Innovative solutions that leverage emerging technologies, such as AI, are revolutionizing the retail market in an effort to reduce these frustrations and boost customer satisfaction and retention in brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, autonomous stores are transforming the way we shop. 

Whether you’re in a grocery store, headed to a concession stand at a sporting or event venue, or stopping by a convenience store for a snack, autonomous store solutions enable shoppers to get in, get the items they need, and get back to their day in mere seconds. The number of autonomous stores worldwide is expected to grow to 12,000 by 2027. But it’s no surprise to us that autonomous stores are popping up across the globe—we’ve helped build many of them.  

Have you ever considered building a new autonomous store or retrofitting your existing shop to become cashierless? Implementing an autonomous store can seem like a lofty task, but it doesn’t have to be! Let us put it into perspective for you. 

In this blog, we will explore the top four mindset barriers to implementing an autonomous store and share how to overcome each of them. Let’s begin.

1. THE PERCEIVED BUSINESS RISKS OF BUILDING AN AUTONOMOUS STORE

Today, labor shortages, unpredictable global supply chains, and fluctuating customer demand pose significant obstacles to achieving efficient store operations. In response, many businesses resort to increasing their workforce or narrowing their inventory focus to cater to niche markets, but these approaches often have their limitations.

Autonomous store solutions circumnavigate these challenges. This innovative approach empowers business leaders to attain their goals even with limited resources. By automating resource-intensive tasks and optimizing operational processes like inventory and planogram management, autonomous retail offers a game-changing way to achieve greater efficiency and resilience.

Not to mention, half of today’s consumers report they stopped shopping at a store because employees were unhelpful. We know this is often due to understaffed stores and overworked employees. Autonomous store technology allows business owners to reallocate labor so employees can develop new skills to better serve their customers. All this to say, autonomous stores—in a multitude of locations—can increase profits by twice as much as traditional stores.

2. THE THOUGHT OF LACKING ROBUST IT INFRASTRUCTURE

We understand the integration of AI-driven systems, computer vision, and APIs in your store can appear daunting at first. This is especially the case when business leaders fear the need to “reinvent the wheel” and rewire the entire store. Luckily, the right technology partner can help ensure seamless development and integration of autonomous systems without hassle.

With an array of cameras and advanced AI algorithms, retailers who partner with AiFi can easily add a layer of intelligence to their existing stores without large hardware investments. This solution allows businesses to set up an autonomous store with no disruption to store operations while reducing costs by as much as 60%

Learn more about how AiFi works here.

3. THE PERCEIVED NEED FOR SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL EXPERTISE TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE STORE'S SYSTEMS

You may think with modernized systems and cutting-edge technology that the level of expertise needed to manage and maintain an autonomous store would be astronomical. You’d be wrong, thankfully

​​Stores that adopt autonomous technology can easily deliver greater convenience to their customers while improving operational efficiency and labor optimization. Take a look at the example below of how inventory management improves with autonomous technology.

Inventories change, and staff members must consistently and accurately plan, update, and follow their planograms. Operational tools built specifically for a retailer’s unique business layout and inventory management needs can make it easy for businesses to keep abreast of changing SKUs and inventory levels. 

AiFi’s Operations App ensures that a store is always ready for customers by alerting staff members when products are misplaced or when inventory changes require them to manage and update their planograms. 

Learn more about how AiFi’s operations tools enhance store efficiency with ease.

4. THE MINDSET THAT CUSTOMERS WON'T APPROVE OR ADAPT TO THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY

One common misconception we hear often is that customers don’t want autonomous shopping solutions. But the data proves otherwise. 

Many consumers are embracing frictionless checkout in autonomous stores as a way to save time and avoid long lines. In fact, today’s customers are actively seeking cashierless and frictionless checkout options:

  • 60% of today’s shoppers prefer cashierless checkout over cashier-assisted checkout. 
  • PwC finds 42% of shoppers want to and/or prefer to use self-checkout kiosks. 
  • 34% of shoppers want to leverage “scan & go” devices and apps to bypass long checkout lines. 

Lastly, the job of cashiers is “projected to see the biggest drop in employment, with 335,000 fewer jobs in 2031 than in 2021.” The truth is, autonomous store technology is here to stay and it will continue to grow exponentially.

FINAL THOUGHTS

By addressing these mindset barriers and partnering with an experienced autonomous store systems provider like AiFi, you can successfully implement an autonomous store and reap the benefits of: 

  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved customer experiences

Embracing autonomous store systems is a strategic move that positions your business for success. AiFi can hold your hand as you take the leap into the future of retail. 

The journey to building your autonomous store starts here.