CHICAGO — Convenience retail continues to adopt emerging technology and make strategic partnerships in checkout and delivery.
The industry is adopting new and creative examples of contactless checkout. Meanwhile, high-profile chains are strengthening relationships with third-party delivery companies to improve their last-mile offerings.
Click through for a few examples of how these trends are taking off …
Check out Delek
Retailer Delek US is rolling out touchless self-checkout to more than 70 of its convenience stores in Texas this summer, part of “a comprehensive innovation strategy” by the company’s DK chain to improve the customer experience.
- Delek U.S. Holdings is No. 32 in CSP’s2021 Top 40 update to the Top 202 ranking of c-stores by store count.
The company has selected Mashgin to provide the frictionless, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-checkout technology to the stores across Texas by late summer. Delek customers will be able to walk in, select the items they want, place them on the Mashgin kiosk tray and have all items instantly recognized and simultaneously totaled in less than half a second, without the need to look for and scan barcodes, the company said.
NACS cards digitally
NACS, the trade association that represents the convenience and fuel retailing industry, and Conexxus, its standards-setting partner, are launching a digital identification age-verification system.
The new TruAge system makes the traditional carding experience more convenient and accurate, NACS said. It addresses age-verification beyond the traditional store register to online ordering, home delivery and curbside pickup, which have grown in popularity during the pandemic.
The solution is already supported by more than 130 retail companies that represent 22,000-plus convenience store locations in the United States, plus four industry point-of-sale (POS) providers. In addition, Molson Coors Beverage Co. is the first major global beer company to support TruAge.
7-Eleven and Instacart
7-Eleven is expanding its partnership with Instacart, the online grocery platform, to nearly 4,000 new stores nationwide. With this expansion, San Francisco-based Instacart now delivers from nearly 6,000 7-Eleven convenience stores, reaching nearly 60 million U.S. households.
Customers also now have access to 7-Eleven delivery via Instacart in as fast as 30 minutes. Customers can choose from thousands of essential products from 7-Eleven—including pantry staples, household items, alcohol, snacks, over-the-counter medication and more—to be delivered from the store to their door.
- 7-Eleven is No. 1 on CSP’s Top 40 update to the 2020 Top 202 ranking of c-stores by store count.
7-Eleven became Instacart's first c-store partner in September 2020.
Casey's and Uber Eats
Casey’s is partnering with Uber Eats to provide delivery services to 755 locations, seven days a week. The new service reflects Casey’s active pursuit of offering more delivery options for its pizza and other prepared foods as well as Casey’s brand products from chips to jerky to soda.
- Casey’s is No. 4 on CSP’s 2021 Top 40 update to the Top 202 list of c-stores by store count.
“We are uniquely positioned to deliver both prepared food items, like our pizza and cheesy breadsticks, as well as grocery items in one order, delivered to our guests front door,” said Art Sebastian, vice president of digital experience for Casey’s. “Casey’s already delivers from about 1,200 stores and this adds delivery service to nearly 103 additional stores.”
AiFi and Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous shopping technology company AiFi, in partnership with Penske Entertainment and Verizon Business, opened the Indy Express Shop, a contactless convenience store in late May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of the 105th Indianapolis 500.
Ticket-holders, volunteers, staff and drivers could purchase snacks, beverages and Indy 500 merchandise using AiFi’s portable computer vision enabled NanoStore, which runs on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.
AiFi’s NanoStore is fully autonomous, customizable and can be placed in any location with Verizon 5G coverage. Customers enter the NanoStore by scanning the Indy Express Shop app. Computer vision-technology around the store observes and tracks the items a customer chooses. When customers are done shopping, they walk out and will receive a receipt to their app or email within minutes.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based AiFi has more than 15 stores deployed worldwide. The company has raised a total of $29.5 million from investors including Qualcomm Ventures, Cervin Ventures, TransLink Capital and Plum Alley.