Retailers Move Towards Frictionless Checkout

By : Tom Chittenden

May 07, 2018 06:00 PM

In the wake of growing competition, changing consumer expectations, and technology advances, retailers are looking towards technology to reinvent the consumer experience inside the store. RIS News recently reported that 100% of retailers surveyed are currently engaged in a “major digital transformation game plan.” According to The Store Experience Study by RIS News, overall IT spending for 2018 is expected to grow by 5.6%, with store systems spending 5.8% higher than 2017. Much of this investment is focused on “frictionless checkout,” which essentially means technologies that remove the ‘friction’ (inconvenience, frustration, inefficiency) from the shopping journey to provide easier, happier shopping experiences inside the store.


The many preferences of today’s consumer


Consumers across generations hold different values and shop in different ways. Millennials may approach shopping with a self-service, mobile-first philosophy, while Baby Boomers are more likely to choose assisted POS and prefer getting help from a customer service representative. It’s important to understand and appreciate these distinctions, as Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials all have relevant buying power.  People are living longer, so we’re seeing Boomers still having a strong influence on the retail industry.  And, Millennials are just coming into their full purchasing potential, which means their influence will only grow in the future.


The best approach to frictionless commerce


Quality service is in the eye of each consumer, so retailers shouldn’t take a single-vision approach towards adopting new technology inside the store, or they might alienate parts of their consumer base. Grab-and-go shopping, most recently represented by the Amazon Go store, is one of the more attention-grabbing paths for achieving frictionless checkout, but it’s only one of the many paths that retailers could consider. 


Determining the right path involves:


  • Considering strategic business objectives
  • Understanding the best way to serve loyal consumers and attract new ones
  • Taking into consideration your brand’s current physical and IT infrastructures
  • Finding ways to include flexibility and convenience into any new shopping methods. 


To learn more about frictionless checkout, visit  to download our new “Frictionless that Fits” ebook.

Tom Chittenden

Vice President and General Manager – NCR Retail Solutions

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Tom leads the strategy and direction of the company’s retail business solutions worldwide, spanning the Food & Drug, Mass Merchandise, Petroleum & Convenience, and Department/Specialty segments. Prior to joining NCR, Tom held solution leader roles in numerous capacities within retail at GE, Wayne Fueling Systems and VeriFone.