Scan and go stores crop up in India as contactless becomes key to shopping

A consumer paying at the Sunnybee retail store in ChennaiSunnybee
  • In Chennai, Sunnybee retail chain has opened a contactless check-out service at a grocery store.
  • Major retail outlets like Adidas, Puma, Decathlon too are encouraging contactless payments at their stores.
  • With the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of contactless shopping, dining and payments has taken over.
With the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of contactless shopping, dining and payments has taken over. Startups and businesses are bringing out new products that promise low or no contact for a safe experience.

Chennai’s Sunnybee retail chain has opened contactless check-out service at a grocery store. Sunnybee has made a name for itself for its farm to store produce. Two years ago, in Kerala’s Kochi, a retail store Watasale had introduced the cashier-less shopping service.

And in the times of the coronavirus pandemic, this seems to be the future of Indian retail. According to an EY report, kirana stores are now more inclined than ever to adapt technology.

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At Sunnybee’s store in Besant Nagar, Chennai, consumers at the shop can just scan and pay themselves instead of paying by cash or even interacting with a cashier at the counter. The self checkout counter has a touchscreen panel and a billing printer too.The solution was put in place as consumers remain wary about multiple interactions at a store.

“The self-checkout solution was designed, developed, and implemented in 15 days despite the lockdown. The initial response from customers is very positive and this is evident from their excitement to use the self-checkout counter every time they walk into the store,” said Sriram Sridharan, Business Head, SunnyBee Market. The hardware and software solution was built by WayCool Labs – the technology arm of the agritech startup WayCool Foods & Products.

But grocery is not the only sector adapting to technology. As malls open up across cities, retail stores too are opting for similar products. Decathlon has also introduced a Scan and Go option for consumers in many of its stores in India. As a part of its newly launched experiential retail stores, Puma in India too is offering an ‘all digital experience’.

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In Bengaluru, Adidas has installed a self checkout counter where customers can scan the barcode to pay. “We are planning to expand it to more stores. This technology can be extended to small cities because consumers are actively using digital wallets and UPI platforms which have democratised contactless payment in all parts of the country," Manish Sapra, senior marketing director, Adidas India told Mint.

Mandar Agashe, MD of Sarvatra Technologies (a banking technology provider) believes that this digital transformation and self checkout stores will see more rapid adoption. “Building proper awareness and education around contactless payment besides undertaking other preventive measures can help us collectively combat the risks involved. This will also encourage India to bring a shift in their everyday habits, facilitating financial inclusion at a macro level,” said Agashe.

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