Is the future of shopping checkout-free?

Almost three quarters (72%) of Australian shoppers are curious about a world without cashiers, according to new research.

Capterra, a leading B2B software search website, interviewed 998 grocery shoppers to gauge how comfortable Australians are with the emerging technology of checkout-free shopping.

While only 3% of respondents believe they have a shop with checkout-free capabilities near them, an impressive 72% are curious to learn more, with 34% in particular indicating they were ‘very interested’.

Checkout-free acceptance

Checkout-free shopping implies downloading and interacting with an app, but as digital literacy continues to rise in Australia, this does not seem to provoke much of an issue.

The majority of respondents note that they are comfortable with using their camera to scan products (83%), using QR codes (82%), and relying on internet access while shopping (71%).

What proved more a cause for concern were data privacy issues: 43% have reservations about letting cashless stores connect directly to their bank account, and 49% indicate they feel uncomfortable with using facial recognition technology to confirm one’s identity.

Pros and cons

Regarding advantages of the technology, avoiding queues is the highest-rated response, with 84% marking it as a benefit to using checkout-free shopping.

Curiously, 55% indicate that minimising contact with other people was another positive, most certainly a by-product of changing social etiquette as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Being overcharged is the most frequently chosen disadvantage (68%), while around half of all respondents note that a malfunction with the app or having their data hacked are other primary concerns (52% and 51%, respectively).

Way forward

“Checkout-free stores have yet to be properly introduced in Australia, but with services such as Scan&Go already proving to be successful, cashierless shopping looks to be the next step in the future of retail tech,” says Laura Burgess, Content Analyst at Capterra.

“Even though the retail trend may still be way from off implementation for now, it is important for merchants to keep an eye on the industry trends that their consumers are eager to adopt.”

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