Unattended Retail

How Smart Kiosks Are Solving Retail’s Last-Mile Problem

When it comes to fulfilling consumers’ need for instant gratification, physical retailers might have an upper hand, but they can struggle to gain the depth of insights that eTailers have on their customers’ demographics and buying behavior.

In the March Unattended Retail Tracker™, PYMNTS explores how smart vending solutions aim to bridge this gap with kiosks that offer in-the-moment access to goods and software, capturing insights, such as demographic data, while improving conversion rates.

Around the Unattended Retail World

One of the biggest names in smart unattended retail continues to be Amazon Go. The company recently obtained a London location, where it plans to introduce the cashierless grab-and-go concept. Yet, even as it grows abroad, Amazon is facing some difficulties back home, where several U.S. states and municipalities are moving to ban stores from refusing cash payments, as Amazon Go does. Among the latest to do so is Philadelphia, where one city councilor noted that rejecting cash has a discriminatory impact.

As unattended retail solutions become more robust and versatile, they’re also being introduced into new sectors. That includes healthcare, where a new self-serve solution intends to enable patients to conduct more of their check-in processes and medical payments without having to engage staff members.

These offerings are leveraging artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology in an effort to gather valuable customer data, such as customers’ ages, genders and emotions.

To read all the latest headlines, download the Tracker.

Deep Dive: Retail Reimagined — the Evolving State of Self-Service

Unattended retail is an ever-changing space, as merchants work to sate consumers’ increasing need for convenience. Thanks to technology enabling improvements in digital payment acceptance, kiosks are now being used in sectors ranging from entertainment to pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, smartphone technology, shelf-based sensors, biometrics and more are spurring new forms of automated concepts, such as Amazon Go stores.

Read about the changing shape of unattended retail in the Deep Dive.

Catering to “Immediate Gratification” with Automated Retail

The two-day delivery standard of eTailers is meaningless when consumers need their products in the moment. Take, for example, the traveler who’s rushing to catch a flight, only to realize they forgot their headphones. To meet this need, eTailers are now tapping smart vending solutions that can bring their brands where and when they’re needed, explained Gower Smith, CEO of automated solutions provider Swyft.

In this month’s feature story, Smith discussed how the smart technology provides robust customer data that can help eTailers better run their kiosk operations, and enable an omnichannel shopping experience.

Get the full scoop in the Tracker.

About the Tracker

The Unattended Retail Tracker™, powered by Worldnet Payments, serves as a bimonthly framework for the space, providing coverage of the most recent news and trends, as well as a directory that highlights the key players contributing to the segments that comprise the expansive unattended retail ecosystem.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.