Travel F&B specialist SSP Group has opened two frictionless, checkout-free stores, at Oslo and Dublin airports.

The new units enable customers to choose and pay for their items completely seamlessly. On entering the store, customers tap their payment card, pick up what they want, and are charged automatically as they leave. There is no need to scan barcodes, interact with sales staff or download apps. Customers who want to see proof of purchase can use their mobile phone to scan a code at the exit and receive a receipt via email.

The technology behind the new store concept comes from two leading players in the field. Zippin’s AI platform provides a combination of camera technology and weight-sensor-enabled shelving to detect the items customers have picked up, while payment processing technology experts Planet created the payment integration.

At Dublin Airport the frictionless store is a food and beverage convenience unit branded as Dublin Town To Go. The concept at Oslo Airport is a Point convenience unit.

These new openings follow the successful trial of the technology at New York’s JFK International Airport, where it has been operating for the past two years. If the concept proves equally successful in these different environments, SSP plans to roll out the technology across other parts of its business.

Tap and go at Dublin Airport

Customers tap their payment card as they enter the new stores

In the long term, the technology is expected to provide a wealth of benefits beyond offering customers convenience and a speedier retail journey. For example, the space used for check-out areas can be repurposed to provide a wider range of products, which will be welcomed at airports, where there can be considerable limitations on footprint.    

“The opening of a checkout-free store in the airport is something completely new and different for passengers. Dublin Airport is excited to be the home of the first concept store of this kind to be opened in Ireland,” said Vincent Harrison, chief commercial and development officer at Dublin Airport. “Whether passengers want to pick up a pre-flight sandwich and coffee, or essentials such as milk and cereal after arriving back into Dublin Airport, the technology deployed in Dublin Town To Go means they can do it quickly and in a hassle-free manner.”

Image: SSP Group