How Frictionless Check Outs Could Impact Impulse Sales

Explorer predicts frictionless check outs will be one of the most influential trends that will reshape retail. A 2020 Explorer study found 68% of shoppers say the check out experience is one of the most unsatisfactory parts of any shopping trip with wait times the key driver. The recent impact of the Covid pandemic has now added to this frustration with increased safety concerns. This has caused an acceleration in the adoption and experimentation of frictionless systems.

Evidence of this is the recent mainstreaming of frictionless online ordering or curbside pick up. Our research indicates that these methods had less than 25% combined household penetration pre-pandemic and now combine for over 50% penetration. Many retailers are also now rapidly expanding Self Check Outs or increasing their experimentation of new frictionless tech options like the “walk in-walk out” Amazon Go platform, subscription reordering systems or mobile check out options like Ahold’s SCAN IT!

Ahold ScanIT

Ahold Delhaize SCAN IT! mobile frictionless check out

With many shoppers now adopting new behaviors to shop and check out, the impact on impulse store sales could be significant. Typically, 900 shoppers visit an average grocery store in the US per day where up to a third are shopping front ends – a high impulse purchase zone. A shift to new frictionless methodologies could significantly impact impulse purchases in this area where store sales are estimated at 2-4% depending on the retailer.

So, with the projection that front end store designs and check outs will change significantly over the short term, so too should the merchandising of impulse items in store. While front of store racking innovation has been the “go-to” for many retailers and manufacturers historically, Explorer recommends the need for a broader innovation approach.

We have found shoppers are typically open more to hedonic impulse products, which often comprise the items typically shelved at the front of the store, in the last half of a shopping trip. Therefore, we recommend innovating with both location and merchandising systems during the latter portion of the trip. The goal is to augment and enhance the latter portion of a shopper’s trip with convenient, easy to access impulse merchandising versus just focusing efforts at the front of the store. Additionally, incentivizing impulse purchases online or with curbside pick up using flash sales is another method to ensure impulse purchases remain top of mind with shoppers that use these frictionless shopping/ checkout avenues.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how to grow impulse purchasing using frictionless systems.

Other articles related to impulse buying behavior:

How to Influence Impulse Buying Behavior in the New Normal

Does the New Normal Mean the End of Front End Impulse?

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