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RETAIL STRATEGY

African supermarket giant trials checkout-free grocery shopping

By our News Team | 2021

Shoprite Group unveils its first automated and cashless ‘no queues, no checkout, no waiting’ concept store.

Pan-African supermarket group Shoprite has begun trialling a cashless and checkout-free concept store called Checkers Rush.

The store, which is operating in Cape Town and only available to employees at this stage, may be launched in other African locations if the trial proves a success.

According to Shoprite, Checkers Rush is an automated, cashless ‘no queues, no checkout, no waiting’ concept where staff can grab products and walk out.

And in case you think this sounds like an open invitation to the dishonest, the store uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) camera technology to identify the products being taken off the shelves. It then debits the user’s nominated credit card or bank account upon exit from the store. 

Checkout-free shopping is becoming more common around the world. Amazon, for example, uses it for many of its Amazon Fresh outlets in the United States and elsewhere.

According to retail industry research, current machine-learning algorithms can already assign goods to shoppers as accurately as the average cashier, making checkout-free shopping both practical and economically viable.

Data-driven marketers can gain robust analytics

From a data perspective, retailers’ marketing teams can gain robust analytics on product movements, buying trends and customers’ purchasing behaviour.

The unveiling of the Checkers Rush concept is part of the launch of the Shoprite Group’s new digital business unit, dubbed Shopritex.

Incubated over the past year, the Shopritex unit is combining data science and technology to create more personalised shopping experiences for customers. It has already delivered two innovations – the fast-growing Xtra Savings rewards programme, and Checkers’ popular ‘Sixty60’ on-demand grocery delivery service that promises home delivery within 60 minutes.

The new division’s 250-strong staff complement includes data science, e-commerce and personalisation experts. They work with Shoprite’s IT team to form a combined group of over 1,000 people working to create and implement new innovations.

“We are serious about being Africa’s most customer-centric retailer, and the launch of Shopritex represents our investment in fit-for-the-future precision retail, which is increasingly digital and data-led,” said Pieter Engelbrecht, CEO of the Shoprite Group.

Watch a video about Shopritex here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15aSCJ9pBaI

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