retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that "Circle K plans to roll out automated checkout at select stores in the U.S. next year, becoming the latest retailer to bet on shoppers’ reluctance to stand in line.

"The convenience store chain, owned by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., on Tuesday said it would deploy a cashierless checkout system at a store in the Phoenix area in early 2021.

"The technology is supplied by Standard Cognition Corp., which has raised $86 million from investors, including EQT Ventures and Y Combinator, by pledging to retrofit existing retail locations quickly.

"The San Francisco startup has also signed up a minor-league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and Paltac Corp., a Japanese drugstore chain. Circle K declined to say how many locations will get the gear."

KC's View:

I visited the Standard Cognition test store in San Francisco back in 2018 … and remember being underwhelmed by it.  (The stench of urine coming from right outside the door on Mission Street may have contributed to that.)  

But … they've had several years to get their act together, and I hope that they've come up with a legitimate and cost-effective response to Amazon Go.  

There’s no question that there are going to be bunches of companies developing various iterations of checkout-free technology, and that somebody is going to take it for a successful ride, and that the world is going to continue to change. I still believe that checkout-free tech is going to end up being as important to retail as scanning.