While driving home from work yesterday I was thinking about the future of “bargain” stores. An example is the where each day the price of the remaining products in the store goes down. On the first day boxes of random Amazon return items are opened up in the store. People line up outside to get first chance at grabbing the high dollar items. As the week drags on, only less expensive stuff is left. On the final day, the dregs are only a dollar.
Another example is the Aldi stores that only really employ cashiers. The customers do most of the rest of the work. Customers manage the shopping carts and return them to the store. Customers pick their products out of cardboard boxes. Customers place their groceries in their vehicles.
My store concept is a bit of a hybrid between these two concepts.
Let’s start at the beginning. These stores pop up based on the most cost effective space available. The space is rented and there is no signage on the street or in the store. All support services like security and cleaning are contracted out. Trucks deliver boxes of products that are simply randomly placed on the store floor. The actual store element is essentially an App that helps you find the store and the products you want. It will direct you to the building, and then once at the store you use it to direct you to the boxes. You check the price by scanning the UPC codes or rely on the App guiding you to the product. The checkout process may be the only human handled part of the experience. Shoppers might actually have to bring their own moving carts and bags. (Shopping carts and bags may be sold on site.)
But isn’t that just a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club? Well, almost. The idea is that it is even more stripped down. Lower investment in facilities. Lower investment in staff. Products offered based solely on their ease of availability and appropriate margin.
Going almost completely employee-less would require an investment in technology and hardware. These would be scanning stations and security cameras.
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