DALLAS — Convenience-store chain 7-Eleven is rolling out a pilot of a cashier-less store at its Irving headquarters, the company said this week. It covers 700 square feet and will be only open to employees.
Those workers only have a handful of steps to make a purchase, the company said. They download an app, sign up, check-in at the store, enter the store, shop, and exit. A receipt appears on the device after they leave.
The chain is using its own mixture of algorithms and predictive technology to enable the store system to separate individual customers and their purchases from others.
7-Eleven is investing in new technology as it competes with companies that are pioneering new ways of shopping that embrace convenience and speed – and not necessarily human interaction.
"Retail technology is evolving at a rapid pace and customer expectations are driving the evolution," said 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto in a prepared statement. "Our team is dedicated to continuing 7-Eleven's legacy of innovation with industry-leading digital solutions. Most recently that has included our award-winning 7Rewards loyalty platform, 7NOW on-demand delivery, mobile checkout, and now our new cashierless store."
Locally, there have been other efforts. More than a year ago, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) opened its first Sam's Club Now in Dallas, seeking to avoid cashiers and subsequently looking at even speedier options with new tech.
The move from 7-Eleven comes roughly two years after Amazon “Go” opened its first store in Seattle. One technology news site, ReCode, called it a “high-tech version of a 7-Eleven” at the time.
The Seattle rival has rolled out more than 20 of these Go stores that lets buyers pick up what they want without going to a checkout area before exiting. The shops have popped up in San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Chicago, according to the Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) website, but none are listed in Texas. The shopping options include ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch and snacks.
The new 7-Eleven concept store offers beverages, snacks, food, groceries, over-the-counter drugs, and non-food items, the company said. The product mix will continue to be refined.
"Introducing new store technology to 7-Eleven employees first has proven to be a very productive way to test and learn before launching to a wider audience,” Mani Suri, 7-Eleven's chief information officer, said. “They are honest and candid with their feedback, which enables us to learn and quickly make adjustments to improve the experience."