Miami Dolphins launch the first of its kind ‘Just Walk Out’ shop at the Hard Rock Stadium
By Kyra Molinari (a EuroCIS.mag exclusive)
Football, ice hockey or soccer fans have one thing in common: if they want to buy snacks or beverages at the sports stadium, they must be super patient and willing to wait forever in long lines with hundreds of other hungry visitors. The Miami Dolphins want to change all that and make life easier for their fans. At the Just-Walk-Out-enabled store, sports lovers can quickly and conveniently buy refreshments they need to enjoy their stay in the stadium.
The staff-free store is the first of its kind at an NFL (National Football League) stadium, making the Miami Dolphins pioneers of the concept. In December, the Florida club opened the Hard Rock Stadium Express Shop, which is powered by Verizon’s 5G technology and artificial intelligence (AI) provided by AiFi. Why does it make sense to open a store with self-checkout solutions?
SCO is more important than ever
Self-checkout (SCO) solutions – which includes the Just Walk Out technology – benefit everyone involved. Customers can take control of their shopping and the checkout process. They don’t need cashiers and avoid waiting in long lines – an important benefit for customers in general, but especially imperative when you visit a stadium. That’s why consumers are more and more interested in SCO: In a recent survey by Harris Poll, 71% of customers stated they had used self-checkouts, and 70% confirmed they made shopping easier.
SCO also gives retailers an edge, because they don’t need as many cashiers and increase employee efficiency by using them in other capacities. However, any business that wants to implement SCO should know that these are sophisticated technology-based systems: while hardware and software such as cameras, artificial intelligence and other components are fairly easy to obtain, they must always be adapted to the respective situation. Smooth interaction with other systems and a customized checkout configuration is a must. While that might initially sound like an obstacle, it can also be seen as a window of opportunity as it enables retailers to adapt the system to fit their brand, the corporate philosophy, and the consumer shopping behavior.
Aside from surveys, official figures also indicate that SCO technologies will become a necessary strategy for retailers in the future: According to a projection by Global Market Insights, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the SCO market should reach eleven percent by 2027. Companies offering SCO should expect a significant increase in orders in the coming years. Retailers who are still on the fence should consider making this type of investment – if they have not done so already.
Grab your stuff and go
The Miami Dolphins, in partnership with Verizon and AiFi show how SCO and the “Just Walk Out” technology can be used successfully. The U.S.-based telecommunications company Verizon and its 5G Ultra Wideband network is a project partner and ensures capacity and upload speeds. AiFi sells the AI-powered tracking technology that tracks customers and bills them electronically via a receipt through their email. AiFi technology can already be found in venues around the world: look for it at the AiGo store in Shanghai, at Carrefour in the United Arab Emirates or at the BottleRock Music Festival in California.
The combination of both technologies makes shopping easier than ever for customers: fans insert a credit card at the door and start shopping at their heart’s content. Afterwards, they simply walk
out of the store and will be billed electronically. Thanks to 5G, sales tracking data is processed in near real time with reduced latency.
Suppliers provide everything retailers need to successfully implement SCO strategies. Consumers increasingly want these systems. Now the ball – make that the football – is in their court. Staff-free stores are on the rise and are being embraced by other businesses as well. We explain why this concept is no longer science fiction and invite you to discover the different implementation options: This way!