- Chevron U.S.A. began piloting checkout-free technology from Grabango at an ExtraMile Convenience c-store located in San Ramon, California, on Wednesday.
- Grabango’s contactless technology allows a customer to walk in, select any non-age-restricted products they’re shopping for and pay through the app by scanning a code instead of standing in line at a cash register.
- Chevron joins a growing number of convenience stores testing frictionless checkout technology at select locations.
Located at 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon, the ExtraMile store that’s testing the checkout-free technology sits close to Chevron’s headquarters, allowing the company’s executives to keep a close eye on the pilot.
Grabango’s technology lets most people avoid any wait at the checkout, getting them on their way faster. The one exception is that shoppers will still have to use regular checkout for items like cigarettes or alcohol, which require age verification.
Bob Stoltz, general manager of Chevron Stations, referred to the solution as “one-second-checkout technology” in the release. “We’re always looking to improve the experiences of our valued ExtraMile shoppers,” he noted.
ExtraMile Convenience includes more than 1,000 locations in six states — Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho.
Grabango is familiar with the c-store space, having launched partnership with several major names. Largest among them is Circle K, one of the biggest c-store chains in North America. Last November, it announced it would be adding Grabango technology to six of its stores in Tucson, Arizona.
Last December, BP partnered with Grabango to bring cashierless checkout to 10 locations, including seven Ampm’s in California and three Amocos in Pennsylvania. Then in February, the tech company forged a partnership with Mapco to add frictionless checkout to two stores in Tennessee by this fall.
Grabango is one of several firms offering checkout-free technology to convenience stores. Standard AI’s frictionless technology is on display at a Circle K store in Arizona, and the firm recently announced the addition of retail insights. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology is being tested by QuikTrip. And firms like AiFi and Trigo are also pushing the space forward.
Checkout-free technology aims to capitalize on the get-in-get-out nature of c-store shopping. NACS reports that the average time for a customer to come into a c-store, make a purchase and leave is currently 3-4 minutes.
Checkout-free shopping is gaining momentum across the globe. Research firm RBR reported that the technology is active in 20 countries and the number of shops using it tripled in 2021 to over 250. The market is expected to grow to over 12,000 stores by 2027.
While companies are testing the waters, experts say the customer base is ready for this shift.
“In my experience it’s not so much the shoppers that are the speed bump here,” said Gary Hawkins, CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail and Technology, in a previous interview. “They’re looking for these capabilities … It’s the retailers who are too slow.”