Retail’s Real-Time Challenge: Why TTR Is a Critical Differentiator of Cashierless Stores

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Heli Netanel

Head of Product

27 April 2023

Cashierless stores and seamless shopping experiences are fast becoming a new norm of grocery shopping. According to research by Juniper, the value of transactions processed by smart checkout technologies is rising steeply, forecasted to reach $387 billion in 2025, up from just $2 billion in 2020. A recent MarketGrowth report valued the global AI-powered checkout market at $245.85 million in 2022, saying it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 34.79% to reach $1.5 billion by 2028.

The attraction of cashierless technologies is clear. Done right, they remove the biggest pains of day-to-day shopping: long lines and under-stocked products. In interviews conducted by Trigo’s researchers, shoppers also cited additional benefits, such as the elimination of the need to unpack and repack their bags at the register, and more sustainable digital receipts. For retailers, seamless checkout reduces the basket abandonment and churn caused by long lines, and also delivers a better user experience that inspires repeat business. Not only that, the technologies that enable cashierless checkout also help cut costs, reduce shrinkage, and move towards smarter, data-driven operations. 

As long lines become a thing of the past for many grocery shoppers, the very definition of friction is changing too, with convenience measured not in minutes but in milliseconds. As global inflation sees grocery prices shooting upwards, and with brand and store loyalty at a record low, ease and convenience are becoming decisive factors in choosing where to shop. A recent survey from PYMNTS on consumer inflation sentiment found that 40% of persuadable consumers said ease and convenience most influenced where they choose to shop. So what does “ease and convenience” look like in an increasingly frictionless shopping reality?


In an era of radical convenience, real-time is the name of the game

When discussing retail innovation or contemplating the future store, real-time is the name of the game: retail tech companies are offering solutions that will deliver retailers real-time store analytics to inform data-driven operations, enable real-time proximity marketing, and, of course, real-time payment and receipt in cashierless stores.

Players in the autonomous store arena measure performance in three key (and linked) indicators: Variety/ number of products supported (# of SKUs), accuracy, and time-to-receipt (TTR). The bigger the store, and the more product variety it offers, the more difficult it is to achieve basket accuracy, which is why some tech companies in this field focus their efforts on nano stores and other formats of small, limited-item convenience stores. 

The bigger and more diverse the store, the more tech providers need to supplement their computer vision and shelf sensors with human support, adding time to the equation and delaying the generation of receipts, sometimes by hours.

Even when the receipt is delayed, shoppers still get to walk out with their goods, queue-free. So why is TTR the holy grail of cashierless technology? The answer is trust. A receipt offers closure, an indication that the transaction is complete, and, of course, it enables the customer to verify the accuracy of the technology. These are all crucial elements to building trust in emerging technology, and supporting adoption. Without timely receipts, we are asking shoppers to have blind faith in our technology. 

Why real-time receipts are critical to the consumer experience in cashierless stores:

  1. Instant verification: Real-time receipts provide consumers with immediate verification of their purchase. This can reassure consumers who may be concerned about whether their purchase was accurately recorded and processed.
  2. Transparency: Real-time receipts provide transparency to consumers by showing them the exact amount they have been charged for each item. 
  3. Purchase dispute reduction: Real-time receipts enable shoppers using cashierless checkout to address and resolve any discrepancies on the spot before walking out, saving both them and the retailer time and friction.
  4. Real-time receipts are especially critical to the user experience when shoppers have a large basket size (more opportunity for error), for shoppers purchasing “complex” items such as fruit and vegetable priced by weight (less trust in the system’s accuracy), and when purchasing items on special offers or combo deals.


Trigo’s real-time experience

Trigo’s EasyOut™ is a technology that lets shoppers walk into a store, pick up their items, and walk out without needing to stop at the checkout. The technology transforms traditional stores of all sizes into fully frictionless, 100% autonomous stores, eliminating the dependency on staffed cashiers. Trigo’s advanced 3D engine leverages data from a system of ceiling-mounted cameras and advanced shelf sensors to generate a digital twin of your store and analyze the activity happening in it. By relying on both computer vision and sensing technologies, Trigo can achieve 99% accuracy while minimizing reliance on human review (discover how). This is key in enabling speedy digital receipt delivery, with the majority of shoppers in Trigo-powered stores receiving their digital basket in under one minute. 

Beyond its immediate and palpable improvements to shopper experience and its cost-cutting function, the EasyOut™ experience is shown to positively impact the lifetime value of customers, by inspiring higher visit frequency and larger baskets. But, like most emerging technologies, adoption is a persistent challenge, which means continuous innovation must take place to make the technology even more accessible and inspire both interest and trust. One persistent barrier to user adoption of cashierless technology is the resistance to downloading a store app. Recent research by Trigo found that many new shoppers who entered a 100% autonomous store for the first time decided to leave because they didn’t want to download the app. Among the reasons cited were app download friction, a preference for cash payment, an anti-tech attitude, and out-of-country or otherwise casual shopping.

Trigo has now introduced a new feature in its autonomous stores: real-time receipts. This feature enables shoppers to stop at a terminal, view all the items they chose, and approve them before tapping to pay or cashing out and exiting the store. This new seamless payment feature was designed to provide shoppers with even greater variety and freedom of choice and ensure a delightful shopping experience. It enables cash-paying customers, those who are less tech-savvy, and shoppers uninterested in paying via the store app to participate in the Trigo experience.

Trigo knows that winning retail is about catering to shoppers’ needs by offering diverse options. That is why the Trigo EasyOut™ experience includes three options: 

  1. Pay and go with the store app and QR code, and receive a receipt via the app in ~ a minute or less
  2. Tapping to pay with a card or mobile wallet, and receive a receipt via SMS, email, or app in ~ a minute or less
  3. Paying using the EasyOut™ station, reviewing and approving the instantly-generated shopping list, and paying via cash, card, or mobile wallet.

Want to learn more about Trigo’s real-time cashierless experience? Book a quick call.

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