Amazon Go, CafeX show a future of retail automation

ROSS RUBIN | April 15, 2019

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The two futuristic retail experiences offer a contrast in how advanced tech can be used to prepare beverages on the spot as well as eliminate the scourge of the checkout line. But humans are still in the picture for now. CVS became one of the first national retailers to experiment with self-checkout as a primary means of handling payment and bagging in stores. But the heavily guided process was error-prone and frustrating. By 2015, the drugstore retreated from the initiative, but it still offers a tweaked version of the stations in many stores. Costco had also removed self-checkout from its stores, although it began experimenting with it again in 2017. Nowadays, retailers ranging from major supermarkets to The Home Depot continue to offer self-checkouts, but there is often a store staffer nearby to assist with the inevitable glitch -- a product that won't scan, a coupon that won't activate, an exhortation to bag an item that has already been bagged. A customer base weaned on delivery from remote websites and acclimating to local delivery services demand better. There's nothing about being physically present in a retailer that should infuse a transaction with any more friction than a one-click purchase.

Spotlight

Flying Buttress / Oh Well Design, LLC

A girls' handbag line focused on encouraging imagination, sustainability and individual expression of tweens. There are five bags with over 40 different "panels" that snap onto the outside of the bags. This allows you to easily and quickly change out your bag's look whenever you want. All of the panels fit onto all of the bags, so when you buy another base bag, you already have other panels to fit onto it. We sell directly to the customer on our website. We also sell wholesale to boutiques.

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A girls' handbag line focused on encouraging imagination, sustainability and individual expression of tweens. There are five bags with over 40 different "panels" that snap onto the outside of the bags. This allows you to easily and quickly change out your bag's look whenever you want. All of the panels fit onto all of the bags, so when you buy another base bag, you already have other panels to fit onto it. We sell directly to the customer on our website. We also sell wholesale to boutiques.

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