Cashless cow a Trojan horse?

7-Eleven has announced an Australian first – a concept store that completely satisfies the desire for cashless and cardless shopping.

Through an app specifically designed by the convenience store giant, the trial store in Richmond, Melbourne removes entirely the need for a cashier, with no physical checkout counter and all purchasing being processed through the app.

7-Eleven CEO Angus McKay promises a ‘completely new retail experience’ for his customers.

“Eliminating queues was part of the mission for this mobile checkout. In the new concept store, customers will notice the absence of a counter. The store feels more spacious and customers avoid being funnelled to a checkout location creating a frictionless in-store experience,” he said.

However, the mass introduction of these technologies within businesses has sparked worries among some experts about the implications of an automated shopping experience.

University of WA economic historian Professor David Gilchrist voiced his concerns over the well-being of individuals who may be finding employment hard to come by due to the introduction of self-service technology.

“In terms of mental health, in terms of physical health, in terms of engagement with the community, having a job is an absolutely critical element,” he said.

“I think with business very quickly moving toward automation and using technology and replacing people, there’s real mental health and physical health issues that come out of that that we haven’t even contemplated.”

He said the dangers of overspending through these forms of apps also put people at risk.

“Increasingly, people who are not financially literate are struggling to be able to keep tabs on their expenditure. Card expenditure or cashless expenditure is always a risk for people who are financially less literate because it means they don’t have control or an oversight of their expenses and that means that their resources can be frittered away relatively easily.”

While 7-Eleven’s corporate affairs general manager Clayton Ford revealed there were no current plans to roll out the trial further, he maintained the introduction of the app payment system would be advantageous to current employees.

“The app will free up time for store team members, enabling them to have extra focus on customer service, in-store standards and delivering the offer to customers,” he said.

Watch the video below to see what people think about self-serve as opposed to interacting with someone at the checkout: