7-Eleven announced today it is piloting a cashierless scan-and-go store concept in its hometown of Irving, TX.
The test store is currently available to 7-Eleven employees and functions much like an Amazon Go store. Users sign into the 7-Eleven app, check into the store, shop, and leave. The store’s system, which 7-Eleven says was built in-house and runs on algorithms and predictive analytics, monitors which items customers take and emails them a detailed receipt after they exit the store.
Items for sale at the concept store currently include a mix of groceries, OTC drugs, snacks, and some non-food items. So basically what you’d find in any other 7-Eleven, minus the hot food items.
Finding ways to create a faster, more frictionless convenience store experience has been a priority of 7-Eleven’s for some time. The chain has its own loyalty program, and in 2019 it launched its 7NOW app to enable delivery of items from the convenience store to non-traditional locations like parks and beaches.
It also launched a Scan & Pay pilot program in 2018 that lets customers scan items with their own mobile phones for faster checkout. At the time, my colleague Chris Albrecht pointed out the highly manual aspect of this pilot program, and noted that Amazon was “light years ahead of its competition” in terms of cashierless checkout that requires nothing more from a user than making sure they’re signed into the app.
This new store pilot, which eliminates the need for users and cashiers to scan items manually, is clearly an effort on 7-Eleven’s part to close some of that technological gap between its own stores and those of Amazon.
7-Eleven hasn’t yet given details on when or where a wider rollout of this store concept will happen. According to the press release, the company is currently taking feedback from employees using the pilot store in Texas, and will iterate and adjust based on that feedback before outfitting other stores, of which there are more than 8,500 in the U.S. alone.