Cashierless payments are set to increasingly be part of the convenience store checkout model.
To that end, 7-Eleven said earlier this week that is debuting scan-and-go options at 14 of its Dallas-based stores, with the goal of bringing that technology to additional locations through 2019.
The Scan & Pay feature exists within the convenience store operator’s eponymous mobile app. Using the technology, the consumer can scan their desired purchase, and activity is also connected to the company’s 7Rewards loyalty offering with automatic alerts to discounts and special offers.
News reports in tandem with the initial Dallas rollout stated that 7-Eleven built the technology for Scan & Pay in five weeks, and had spent a month testing it.
In the wake of the Dallas announcement, PYMNTS caught up with Gurmeet Singh, chief information officer and chief product officer at the company, to get a bit more granular detail on the development of the scan-and-go app, and why it makes sense to go live now.
The mobile payment offering comes as 7-Eleven has been heavily investing in innovation across different avenues, testing augmented reality, artificial intelligence and new payment methods, such as Amazon Cash. Drone delivery services also have been added to the mix – all to reduce friction in the shopping experience across its 67,000-store global footprint, with 9,100 located in the United States.
Scan-and-go technology fit into the retailer’s overall business strategy by addressing a specific problem, said Singh.
“Americans spend 37 million hours waiting in lines, with a significant amount of that being in checkout lines," Singh told PYMNTS. “The challenge I gave to my team was, ‘how do we disrupt this? How can we enable our customers to skip the line, every time?' We continue to think like a software company, digitally enabling our stores, to redefine convenience once again. … We developed the prototype of this technology in June, and then first tested the experience in the 7-Eleven Store Support Center store.”
He acknowledged that in the race to bypass the wait at the register and skip the line altogether, some pain points and friction still exist when it comes to fostering new customer behaviors.
“Adoption is key to a new shopping experience like Scan & Pay,” said Singh. “We learned from our test at headquarters that customers require assistance the first time they utilize the new mobile checkout feature.”
Customers also wanted to earn 7Rewards points while they shopped, as well as redeem them upon checkout even as they used Scan & Go, Singh added, so that option was included. There are also limitations to just how pervasive Scan & Pay is, at least for now, the firm stated upon its early November announcement. In the current experience, age-verified products, hot food that needs cashier assistance and financial services products are not eligible to be purchased using Scan & Pay.
“Allowing customers to scan all products we offer in our stores will be one of our primary focus areas for next year to drive customer adoption,” Singh said. “We will also be focusing on improving the first-time user experience to let customers taste the benefit of skipping the line without having to go through some of the onboarding steps” as the pilot moves through 2018.
In reference to payment options, Singh said that Scan & Pay is the latest offering across an ever-growing menu of choices. “We want to provide customers the ‘convenience of choice, whether it be with cash or card at the POS, the digital payments – Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay – or skipping the line with Scan & Pay. We are enabling our customers to control their in-store experience. Customer satisfaction will help drive revenue as customers will no longer walk out when they see a line, because they can skip the line, each and every time.”