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Grab and Go Autonomous Stores vs. Traditional Retail: The Pros and Cons

Delve deep into the realm of autonomous grab and go stores and traditional retail to uncover the pros and cons of each approach.

Delve deep into the realm of autonomous grab and go stores and traditional retail to uncover the pros and cons of each approach.

Grab and go autonomous stores have emerged as a disruptive force, challenging the traditional brick-and-mortar model. But are these high-tech, cashierless stores all advantages and no drawbacks? In this blog, we delve deep into the realm of autonomous grab and go stores and traditional retail to uncover the pros and cons of each approach.

 

Which will serve you and your customers best? 

The Pros of Traditional Retail

Traditional retail has been around since bartering days—and it’s not completely ever going to disappear. The personalized customer service and human interaction often make traditional retail shopping an enjoyable experience. 

 

In-person interactions with knowledgeable staff provide personalized assistance, giving a sense of trust and customer satisfaction. Have a question? There’s a customer associate available ready to help. Need a different type of pre-made sandwich? There’s someone there to restock it for you. 

 

Traditional retail stores provide a tangible and immediate shopping experience that caters to customers who value in-person engagement and the ability to see and touch products before buying.

The Cons of Traditional Retail

Long lines, limited hours of operation, and high labor costs are undoubtedly the biggest pain points traditional retail brings to shoppers and business owners alike. This is why it’s no surprise that by 2026, approximately one in four retail purchases will take place via e-commerce. 

 

According to Oberlo, nearly 30% of consumers shop online due to the convenience of the quick checkout process. But even today, the majority of consumers shop in physical stores. In fact, 87% of U.S. sales are derived from physical stores. 

 

The question is, if people want to shop in-store but refer to e-commerce for its convenience, what can physical grab and go stores do to mitigate these challenges? Switch to an autonomous store model.

The Pros of Grab and Go Autonomous Stores

Autonomous stores provide shoppers with the best of both worlds: in-store shopping with the ease and convenience of e-commerce. There are no long lines or exaggerated wait times because there are no cashiers or points of checkout. There are no “hours of operation” because the store can be open 24/7 without associates there to run it—which also means lower labor costs! 

 

Autonomous stores enable shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan and pay. Shoppers can enter the store, choose the items they want to purchase, and simply walk out of the store. The system will then automatically charge the shopper and send a receipt to them via SMS or email. 

 

Enhancing the shopping experience for customers? It’s a win. Saving retailers money and resources? That’s a win-win! With the right autonomous technology, retailers can strategically optimize store layouts to maximize inventory and product displays, ultimately driving greater revenue. Plus, with the integration of in-store shopping analytics, store owners gain valuable insights into shopper behavior to fine-tune planograms, layouts, and product placements, further enhancing the overall efficiency and performance of the retail space.

 

The pros of grab and go autonomous stores are so great, a recent survey reports that customers expect grab and go stores to be contactless and fully automated in the next two decades!

 

For further information and insights on how autonomous stores work, check out our infographic explaining the shoppers’ journey.

The Cons of Grab and Go Autonomous Stores

Autonomous stores can be quite complex to implement if you don’t have the right tools or partner to help you do so. From computer vision technology to cameras and back office application integrations, it’s important to have an experienced partner develop your autonomous store. 

 

Another common concern is the privacy protocols an autonomous store leverages. If implementing an autonomous system, would you want to use biometrics? Would your customers? It’s totally up to you! Working with a company like AiFi enables you to leverage camera-only computer vision with keypoint tracking technology, enabling shopper anonymity. AiFi also provides retailers with the capability to use biometrics as well—your choice.

Building an Autonomous Store with AiFi

Thinking about retrofitting your existing store to be autonomous? Interested in building a brand new autonomous store? Not sure where to start?

 

Start with our quick-step guide to launching a successful autonomous store with AiFi. In this quick-step guide, we explore how to capitalize on AiFi’s autonomous technology, including computer vision, to launch a successful store that’s fully operable, even when you sleep! Check it out and dive into our 5-step deployment process.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a retailer looking to lower costs, and increase customer satisfaction, throughput, and revenue, you should consider retrofitting your store into an autonomous store model. Or, if you’re looking to expand your retail footprint, consider building your next franchise with an autonomous system. 

 

Either way, AiFi is here to help you implement the most efficient, cost-saving, and quick autonomous store solutions. To learn more about how AiFi works and what we can build together, book a demo. We can’t wait to chat with you.