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Monday, April 15, 2024

Industry Status and Challenges of Unmanned Retail

Unmanned retail is a growing trend in the retail business. While it has many advantages, it also has its share of disadvantages that need to be considered before implementing such a system. This article will provide an overview on what unmanned retail is, the current state of this trend, and some of the challenges ahead for this new way of doing business.

What is unmanned retail?

Unmanned retail, also known as automated retail, is the use of technology to perform functions that would otherwise be performed by a human.

It can be implemented in many different ways: by enabling customers to purchase items via an app or website; by having machines scan and identify products for customers; or even through the use of robots.

The current state of unmanned retail

Unmanned retail is already being used in a variety of industries, such as restaurants and hotels. The current state of unmanned retail involves the use of technology to automate the process of ordering, payment and delivery. This automation can take many forms, such as self-checkout at grocery stores or kiosks offering food orders at restaurants. Unmanned retail is not just about robots; it’s also about other forms of automation that are designed to remove human workers from certain tasks.

Advantages and disadvantages of unmanned retail


  • For customers, unmanned retail stores only need to swipe their mobile phones to enter the store, select products, pick up goods, and self-pay to leave, which not only allows consumers to obtain the items they want to buy more quickly, but also saves time waiting in line to check out. , as long as the customer learns to use it, it will certainly save a lot of time for the customer.
  • For merchants, because labor is replaced by various new technologies, labor costs are greatly reduced. Advanced science and technology also make commodities easier to manage, and the purchase, inventory and sales of commodities are more standardized. Merchants can understand the situation in the store by checking the monitoring in the store at any time, and the degree of control is relatively high.


  • Lack of human interaction: Customers may be put off by the lack of a face-to-face experience with staff and may also miss the personal touch provided by cashiers.
  • Food safety issues, because the goods will still be lost, if there is no special personnel to deal with these losses, the loss of the goods may increase, and the goods generally have a shelf life. It is also a problem that overdue sales affect word of mouth.


Challenges for the development of unmanned retail

There are a number of challenges facing the development of unmanned retail. How to ensure that customers complete the checkout before leaving is the focus of unmanned retail. For example, install enough video surveillance in the store, integrate the commodity detection system, the people pass speed gates and the payment system, etc.

Another obvious one is security, which has been a point of contention in recent years. Retailers have begun to adopt biometrics and other technologies to ensure that even if someone enters the store, they cannot purchase anything unless they are authorized by the store owner.

Other issues include data protection (ensuring that personal information isn’t leaked), privacy concerns (making sure that consumers know how their data is being used), and ease-of-use (making sure that consumers can easily navigate their way through an app or website).


From the current retail development trend, the promotion of unmanned retail has shown an irresistible trend. Especially with the increasing pressure of work and life, the shopping time of many office workers has been greatly squeezed. Unmanned retail can buy anytime, save time as much as possible, and is generally welcomed. In addition, for many elderly people with limited mobility, the unmanned retail machine directly installed in the community has greatly solved the trouble of going out to buy.

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