Frictionless Shopping

Frictionless shopping represents a strong area of growth we see throughout the retail industry, with more retailers looking to reduce the pain points for customers when shopping in-store, while also saving on resources.

The growth and innovation is compelling with services like “Scan and go” and “Digital check out” becoming more commonplace, alongside the integration of digital hardware such as, intelligent shopping carts and scan-to-access barriers. The opening throughout the past year of several Amazon “Just Walk Out” stores is a prime example of embracing such technologies.

There will be a need for consumers to familiarise and build confidence with these services and technologies, but this evolution is here to stay as the benefits for consumers out-weigh the initial disruption of change.


It’s interesting to note which retailers are leading this frictionless movement?…and equally as important, which retailers are falling behind?

In a report from Global Data, they identified seven types of frictionless retail and judged who is leading the way within each of these fields:

  1. Ease Of Access: From first contact to payment, this metric measures the length of time it takes for a customer to make a payment. In this case, you can divide it into two categories: how fast can a customer find what they are looking for, and how fast can they pay for it.
  2. Fulfillment: It focuses on the all-important ‘last mile’. This responsibility has largely been transferred to retailers due to online shopping.
  3. Multichannel Alignment: Providing shoppers with a variety of purchase options, such as matching shopping carts across desktop, mobile, and apps, or empowering staff with mobile POS devices
  4. Payment Options:Amazon’s 1‑click buying is very much secondary, as it has been available for some time. This form of frictionless also includes Apple/​​Android Pay and leveraging brand apps.
  5. Personalization:Service customization, whether it is grocery stores that allow users to repurchase frequent items quickly, or experimental technologies that enhance the consumer experience.
  6. Positive Friction: This is about adding and enhancing the purchase experience with a moment of pause. These interventions can provide helpful information, recommend complimentary products, or build an experience around the purchase.
  7. Security: Frictionless introduces unique challenges for offline and online retail. In offline, there is the risk of shortage. Whether accidental or intentional, scanners can often be fooled.. Online retailers need to continuously audit their systems with third-party providers to prevent sensitive data from leaving the organization.
Source: GlobalData