Move over self-checkouts: fully cashierless stores could be on the horizon, as a UK startup announces a major retail partnership.
Tech company MishiPay is working with Austrian electronics company MediaMarktSaturn to launch the Saturn Express app, where consumers use its ‘Scan Pay Leave’ technology to automatically purchase items without visiting a till. It is believed the model of solely paying via app is the first of its kind in Europe.
The cashierless store is located in Austria at the popular Sillpark shopping centre in Innsbruck. With the ‘Scan Pay Leave’ system, customers scan items with their smartphone. This brings up information about the product, with the option to tap a ‘Pay now’ button, rather than taking the item to a cashier.
The potential issue of theft with such a system is addressed by using standard RFID chips. These are deactivated once a customer has scanned and paid for an item.
MishiPay was selected for the pilot project with Saturn Austria as part of the Retailtech Hub initiative -an accelerator programme by MediaMarktSaturn and Plug and Play Tech Center, Silicon Valley.
Mishipay previously completed a successful trial with French DIY giant Leroy Merlin, and the company also received £1.6m seed funding in 2017, in a round led by European VC Nauta Capital. The funding will be used to grow its Proof of Value projects with major retailers into full-fledged rollouts into their wider store network on a permanent basis.
The idea for MishiPay was originally conceived by co-founder and CEO Mustafa Khanwala, co-founder and CEO, who felt jaded by lengthy queuing times in stores.
“In retail, convenience is the new loyalty,” says Khanwala. “It is easier than ever for customers to find the product they want, so the challenge is to be the retailer that can supply that product in the easiest, most convenient way. ‘Cashierless’ shopping removes the ‘pain point’ of queuing for customers, providing an outstanding customer experience that will make shoppers more likely to choose your store over a competitor.
“What’s more, two of the biggest commercial pressures offline retailers face today are the rising costs of staff and shop floor space. By automating processes such as checkouts, retailers can cut these costs, and free up their staff to really add value to the customer experience by offering personal help and advice rather than just processing sales.”
Khanwala also hopes this technology will provide bricks and mortar retailers with the ability to compete with online shopping. MishiPay provides the ability to collect detailed customer data in a way that was previously difficult to collect in conventional shopping transactions.
“With MishiPay you no longer have to view online and offline channels and customers separately, explains Khanwala. “Retailers know not only what customers are buying, but also what they are considering buying, how often they return to the store and more, so they can start to build a more accurate picture of each individual customer and their behaviour and to make more informed business decision.
“The nature of the tech industry is that if you’re not constantly innovating, developing and growing, then you’re going to get left behind. It is a big project with huge potential, and we’re fortunate to have some great investors and partners on-board who really believe in what we’re doing.”