Like many small towns around the world, the small Swedish town of Viken (population 4,227) closes up shop early. But this makes it hard for the local residents to make late night runs to the supermarket for items that are needed immediately. The nearest larger town is 20 – 30 minutes away, making it difficult for residents to quickly purchase items that are needed to solve routine problems such as the need for milk, bread, snacks, diapers, formula, and more.
To solve this problem, a store owner created a store that is not manned by employees. Yes, that’s right, zero employees. So how does someone shop at the store?
In Sweden, shoppers can use a smartphone banking app called BankID. The app lets them enter the store, then the phone is used to scan the items, and at the end of the month, the customers receive a bill. To deter any potential shoplifters, there are six security cameras monitoring the store shelves. Bad credit? The door will not open for you. In two months of operation there have been no problems or theft. The biggest problem is encouraging older residents to adopt the new technology.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss how consumers shop later at night. What are the barriers?
- Show the video of the Swedish store:
- Next, show a video from a company called ShelfX that has a similar payment system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAMHMAUX22c
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these systems.
- Have students brainstorm how and where this system could be installed in their home towns or on the college campus.
Source: Tech Insider, Associated Press, other news sources