7-Eleven pilots cashierless store concept

Taking a page from Amazon Go’s autonomous store checkout model, C-store chain 7-Eleven is trying out its own cashierless checkout at its Texas headquarters location.

During the pilot, the 700-square-foot non-traditional store is available to 7‑Eleven employees.

“Retail technology is evolving at a rapid pace and customer expectations are driving the evolution,” said 7‑Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. “Our team is dedicated to continuing 7‑Eleven’s legacy of innovation with industry-leading digital solutions. Most recently that has included our award winning 7-Rewards loyalty platform, 7Now on-demand delivery, mobile checkout, and now our new cashierless store.”

A proprietary mixture of algorithms and predictive technology enables the store system to separate individual customers and their purchases from others in the store. The concept store offers an assortment of the most popular products sold in 7‑Eleven® stores, including beverages, snacks, food, groceries, over-the-counter drugs and non-food items. The product mix will continue to be refined.

“Introducing new store technology to 7‑Eleven employees first has proven to be a very productive way to test and learn before launching to a wider audience. They are honest and candid with their feedback, which enables us to learn and quickly make adjustments to improve the experience. This in-house, custom built technology by 7‑Eleven engineers is designed for our current and future customers.”, said Mani Suri, 7‑Eleven senior vice president and chief information officer.

Shopping in the new cashierless 7‑Eleven store is simple. To test the store, employees download an app, sign up, check in at the store, enter the store, shop and exit. A detailed receipt appears in the app automatically after the customer exits.

This latest project follows on the heels of 7‑Eleven’s Mobile Checkout feature, allowing customers to skip the line and pay using their smart phone in stores at pilot locations. 7NOW delivery services take the 7‑Eleven brand out of the store, enabling customers to order and have products delivered to them.

Amazon Go also field-tested its store with company employees as a way to demonstrate proof of concept, before being open to the public.

Key challenges for autonomous checkout are systems costs and scalability of store size. 2020 will see more of these stores beyond Amazon Go that will give more insight on the cost viability for merchants that try autonomous checkout.