Opening an automated store may seem like a complex, financially and technically challenging undertaking, but current technologies make it easy to switch to automated sales without salespeople in a matter of days and at an affordable price. In this article, we’ll take you through the process of opening an unmanned shop and the steps that precede it.
What product range should I choose for my vending machine?
An important step before transforming to unmanned sales or opening a completely new store is the selection of the assortment. In unmanned food retailing, most goods can be sold, especially
- Durable food
- chilled drinks
- dairy products
- weighed goods – vegetables and fruit
- alcoholic beverages – (reliable age verification is provided by software)
On the other hand, it is more difficult to offer counter goods in an unmanned store – meat, salads, cheese, which are packaged directly for customers. If you would like to maintain this method of sales, we recommend selecting a hybrid operation model, which can maintain a customer service area during designated hours of operation and then cover the counter during unmanned hours. Read more about hybrid unmanned operation here. You can also use the price list from the existing POS system to make the switch.
What is the return on investment?
Unmanned operation brings with it a significant reduction in labour costs. The return on investment for automated equipment and the associated optional room modifications is between 8 and 12 months from previous experience. You can read more about the financial calculations of the unmanned shop here.
Does the shop need to be adapted with equipment?
The store of the future, as this type of sale is sometimes called, is comparable to the now widespread manned stores. They do not differ significantly in terms of shelf equipment and assortment. The store needs to be equipped with a self-service checkout and the entrance to the store needs to be adapted to digital connectivity. Security cameras are then installed in the building for control. More about the equipment for the unmanned shop is described in the CONTIO SHOP KIT.
How long does it take to open?
If the implementation is not associated with major structural modifications of the establishment that are not related to the unmanned operation itself, the transition has no impact on the normal operation in terms of disruption of sales. The work associated with the transition to unmanned sales can be completed within 6 hours and includes the installation of cameras, an unmanned kiosk and the digitalisation of the entrance. The automated shop can thus be opened and pilot tested within one weekend.