7-Eleven Planning to Go Cashierless, Ramp Up Mobile Payments?

November 7, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

What Amazon did to brick-and-mortar retail in general, now Amazon Go is poised to do to the convenience store. Ever since the cashierless store concept first opened up, convenience stores have been puzzling over what to do. How can they compete with a store offering much the same things, but with significantly lower overhead? New word suggests that 7-Eleven may have one answer in the form of cashierless operations at its own stores.

The new idea is a kind of mobile checkout process known as “Scan & Pay.” With this system, users will be able to serve as their own checkstands by scanning a quick response (QR) code and then paying with the 7-Eleven mobile app complete with rewards plan. The system, as such, accepts debit or credit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay systems.

Right now, Scan & Pay is available in 14 stores in Dallas, with other cities getting access next year. There are some items that won’t be accepted via Scan & Pay, however, and that includes age-appropriate items like lottery tickets, tobacco and alcohol. Hot food is also unavailable for Scan & Pay.

Chief information officer and chief digital officer for 7-Eleven Gurmeet Singh noted “For us, it was important to figure out how to continue to drive convenience in the digital age. We are ready to adapt to the changing consumer patterns and changing demands of the consumer.”

This is a really mixed bag of an idea. On the one hand, it does reduce the amount of cash that the business has to deal with, which makes it in turn a much less attractive proposition for criminals unless they’re after merchandise. On the other, it may not even work all that well; 7-Eleven can’t get rid of all its cashiers since it’s still got items that you have to pay cash for. Plus, someone has to make sure customers are actually paying for every item they pick up; how hard would it be to grab a dozen bottles of water and ring up three? So how much money could 7-Eleven actually save here? Enough to be competitive with Amazon Go?

The execution of this idea could be tougher than some expect, but only time will tell just how well it works in the end.