SSP Group has opened two frictionless, checkout-free stores at Oslo Airport and Dublin Airport.

The new units allow customers to choose and pay for their items completely seamlessly, providing much sought-after speed and convenience in the busy travel environment, where time is often at a premium. On entering the store, customers simply 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 any 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 to bring the frictionless walk-out process to life.

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 is planning to roll out the technology across other parts of its business.

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 again be welcomed at rail stations and airports where there can be considerable limitations on footprint.   

Mark Smith, SSP’s chief digital and technology officer, said; “At SSP, we pride ourselves on our ability to use the most sophisticated technology to bring customers the best possible experience. We’re certain customers will find that this new way of shopping makes a real difference to their journey.”

Krishna Motukuri, CEO and co-founder of Zippin, commented; “When it comes to airport shopping, long checkout lines can be the difference between catching a flight or missing it. Countless travellers skip shopping altogether to avoid the risk. We’re excited to bring checkout-free to Oslo and Dublin airports to eliminate the friction of traditional checkouts and make it easier for travellers to shop. With checkout-free, travellers can put purchases directly into their luggage as they shop because the technology doesn’t care how items are carried out of the store. This makes the overall shopping experience better and encourages larger baskets, which helps increase revenues and profits.”

Tim Goodwin, chief product and technology officer at Planet, said; “We’re delighted to be partnering with Zippin to integrate our payments technology to help SSP power a better in-store shopping experience at busy airport locations. It’s a great example of how we’re working with our partners to offer customers innovative new ways of shopping, and which make payments easy, frictionless and almost invisible, helping travellers to get their shopping done quickly and at their own convenience when they are pushed for time.”

Glenn Marius Sørgård, commercial manager at OSL, said; “Our passengers here at Oslo Airport are discerning and they are looking for a quick and convenient experience when shopping. At the new outlet, passengers can shop in a way that is highly efficient but is also something a little bit different. We’re certain this will set our airport apart and add a new dimension to travelling from Oslo Airport.”

Vincent Harrison, chief commercial and development officer at Dublin Airport, was similarly enthusiastic: "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. 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."