Various concepts have been introduced but is this paradoxical trend a step forward for new retail?
The unmanned store as a solution for service and cost savings could not be any more paradoxical. One of the most important spearheads for service is the personnel ready to answer customers' questions, to show them the way, to open an extra cash till or to fetch products for the customer. Yet the existing personnel cannot meet all service requirements, and an unmanned store may offer the solution in some cases.
An unmanned store can be kept open 24 hours per day and 7 days a week without having to pay an irregular hours allowance, and it considerably speeds up the shopping and payment processes. No wonder we have seen the arrival of automatic pay points in supermarkets in recent years, which have considerably reduced the queue size. Although they are a smaller form, they too are a type of unmanned store. And customers have welcomed them with open arms, so much so that the queues are sometimes longer at automatic pay points than at the manned tills.