Amazon checkout-free

Amazon opened its first checkout-free grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle, Washington, earlier this year. 

Almost half (46%) of consumers are unlikely to consider using entirely checkout-free supermarkets in the future, according to a new report.

This compares to around a third (36%) that would use technology such as a smartphone app to scan barcodes on products to purchase them, alongside just 20% of consumers aged 55 and over who said they would be likely to consider using checkout-free technology when shopping.

Around two thirds (68%) said they would be concerned about how technical issues with checkout-free technology could impact their shopping trip, and just over half (51%) said they would not feel comfortable scanning and paying for their goods using their phone. This was particularly true for those in the eldest age group, with two-thirds of consumers surveyed by YouGov Omnibus indicating as much.

The technology was found to appeal mostly to those making quick shopping trips rather than weekly or monthly visits, with 41% of consumers saying they would use it for ‘on-the-go’ shopping trips rather than anything larger. Only 28% of respondents disagreed with this. In addition, 37% said avoiding interaction with checkout staff would be a bonus to checkout-free technology for them.

The study comes six months after Amazon opened its first checkout-free grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle, Washington. Customers have to scan the Amazon Go smartphone app linked to a payment card and pass through a gated turnstile to shop in the store, and if a shopper passes back through the store’s gate with an item their Amazon account is charged automatically.

“While many consumers see the benefit of checkout-free technology, predominantly due to its time saving potential, our data shows a good number of shoppers feel the negatives outweigh the positives at the moment,” said YouGov consumer research director Richard Moller. “Security issues and mistrust concerning phone payments are just two of the worries that brands and tech companies will have to allay if this technology is to become a permanent fixture in our supermarkets.”

Moller added that supermarkets building trust with their customers over time was a key way to slowly introduce technology-driven payment systems.