Unmanned 24/7 Stores

2 min read
June 8, 2022 at 1:54 PM

Self-checkout technologies are enabling brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink store concepts. One big trend that is developing from this are small unmanned 24/7 stores.

  • Great shopping experience on few square meters
  • A promising concept in a digital world
  • Unmanned stores enable profitability in uneconomic regions

Unmanned Concepts

Large Vending Machines

Probably the simplest form of a 24/7 store is a store equipped with oversized vending machines. Customers buy products that are automatically dispensed after the payment process. One example of such an implementation is Flavura's vending machine store. The concept can be operated 24/7 and is unmanned to the extent that only stocks need to be replenished.

Self-Checkout Stores

Due to the fundamentally increasing interest in self-checkout systems in retail, 24/7 self-checkout store concepts are also gaining momentum. Driven by the pandemic and digitalization, these concepts solve further problems of the retail industry: previously uneconomical areas can be evaluated in new ways. In addition, the currently prevailing staff shortage can be counteracted.

The self-checkout concept can be imagined as a small supermarket, with fresh and convenience products, but without staff. Customers enter the store via identification using an app or EC card. Afterwards, the desired products can be scanned and then paid for at a terminal or in the app. In order to purchase age-restricted products, age verification is possible via the stationary SCO. A Girocard is required for this purpose.

One of the first self-checkout stores was opened by Tegut. The tegut… teo concept has already won several awards.

Grab & Go

The term Grab & Go was first introduced by Amazon. With Amazon Go, the world's largest online retailer has launched an unmanned concept that has never existed before. Using a combination of computer vision and machine learning, customers can enter the store, grab products from the shelves and simply leave again. All that is needed is a QR code scan via a cell phone app for identification at the entrance. When customers leave the store, the receipt for their purchase appears on their smartphone after a short time.

Ceiling cameras and sensors distributed throughout the store are used to monitor the action.


Unmanned store concepts are opening up a market that has not existed before. Eliminating the need for staff gives stationary retailers more flexibility in positioning a store. Whether in a busy downtown area in a small space or in a rural area, unmanned stores shine. A grab & go concept, such as the one from Amazon, scales less well than a self-checkout store due to the high equipment costs.

Do you have questions about self-checkout stores or how an implementation is possible? We will be happy to advise you.

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