November 07, 2022 | GK GO
8 min read

The Ultimate Cashierless Experience Doesn’t Require Cameras

As retailers undergo digital transformations and become more innovative, customer data will become increasingly important. But these advancements aren't without risk. According to Cisco, 86% of consumers are concerned about their data privacy and 19% have terminated a relationship with a retailer that they felt was misusing their data. 

One innovation in particular has sparked controversy over data usage – the cashierless store. These efficient and experiential stores don't require anyone to work the cash register, instead they rely on in-store technology to track a shopper's purchases and automatically charge the credit card on file.  

In the most well-known version of cashierless technology, hundreds of cameras follow a shopper's every move. This modern store format has caused a divide between consumers who are delighted by the efficiency and those who are hesitant to visit a scanless store with cameras. But luckily, there are other ways to implement a cashierless store that'll bring more shoppers to the side of innovation.  

The Concerns Surrounding the Camera-Centric Model 

Some scanless store formats rely solely on cameras that together can view every corner of the store, capturing thousands of customer images a day. While there is typically no facial recognition used, some shoppers are hesitant to have their images taken and stored by the retailer.  

According to Street Fight Magazine, consumers have also cited "the potential for data breaches, a lack of legal accountability for protecting shoppers' data, and even a potentially negative impact on low-income people and people of color" as top concerns for camera-based checkout.

From the retailer's point of view, cameras also pose logistical issues. While most cashierless shoppers failed to cheat the camera system, it's not impossible to do so. One technology reporter successfully shoplifted from an Amazon Go store by simply changing clothes in the bathroom mid-shopping trip. The average shopper likely won't do this, but this anecdote proves the potential for errors with a camera-only system.  

And, while it may seem less expensive than other scanless options, the price of a camera format includes the costs of the cameras and the costs associated with processing and storing all the footage. Furthermore, according to an article from Focal Systems, stores using cameras will also require shelf weight sensors to become at least 95% accurate, adding an additional cost.

Alternatives to In-Store Cameras 

To avoid these privacy concerns, increase accuracy over time and offer customers alternatives, GK GO provides another approach to cashierless. In a GK GO store, no video footage is required because GK utilizes Shekel Product Aware shelves and Hitachi's 3D LiDAR technology to determine which items left the shelves and with whom.  

The benefits of a camera-free store are plentiful. The first benefit is the freedom of choice. In a GK GO store, the customer provides consent for data sharing. By opting in, they receive a hyper-personalized experience with recommendations and promotions appearing on their smart phone along with real-time basket updates.  

If a customer opts out of data sharing, they are still welcome to use the store as a guest. This will not require a data transfer and the guest shopper will be able to checkout at a payment kiosk.  

GK GO also reduces total cost of ownership and time to market for new products. With LiDAR, retailers don't need to process large video streams. Instead, a few weight samples are enough to introduce a new product and the machine learning, which will continue to improve accuracy over time.  

From an aesthetic point of view, LiDAR doesn't require any particular lighting and can be positioned higher than cameras, eliminating a potential eye sore from the store's layout. When the store looks the same as it did before implementing the GK GO technology, skeptical shoppers will be more likely to experiment.  

Protecting Privacy Shouldn't Limit Innovation 

With self-scanning stores expected to triple by 2027, it's important that customers feel comfortable with the new in-store innovations. GK GO eases the transition by giving shoppers a choice of how to shop and protecting their data privacy.  

To learn more about GK GO visit our website or schedule a conversation with us today.