New fully cashierless convenience store opens in Edmonton

Description: Edmonton's first cashierless and cashless convenience stores have opened downtown. Bianca Millions finds out how they operate, and what this means for otherwise empty building.

A new convenience store has opened in Downtown Edmonton at Aisle 24, you can purchase groceries 24-7, 365 days a year.

The twist is that the store is cashierless, with not one worker in the building. It was an intriguing business opportunity for entrepreneur Mike Webb.

“It was a concept I came across, just searching for business ideas online, and just kind of knew, the way it’s a different shopping experience, it really just caught my eye, and I thought that would work in Edmonton,” explained Webb.

Aisle 24 has two stores in Edmonton. The first in western Canada after opening in Ontario in 2016. Their store fronts are helping populate a very empty downtown business core as they typically occupy the ground floor of condo buildings.

“We have a lot of unused space in the downtown core, so if we have more opportunity for businesses like this to set up shop with lower overhead, lower initial construction costs, we can have more spaces like this,” said Heather Thomson, University of Alberta School of Business.

So here’s how it works; you download the Aisle 24 app to your phone. After putting in some basic information and your credit card, it then asks you take a selfie and verify your account. Once that’s done, it takes about five minutes, you gain access to the store.

Aisle 24, a cashierless store in Edmonton. (Photo Credit: Bianca Millions, CityNews)

It’s a convenience store with a little more — everything from snacks to locally sourced goods, to deli meats, to frozen cakes.

You take your purchase to the cashierless, automatic pay system, simply scan your product, pay now, scan your card, and you are done.

But with a no employee, cashierless system, the question must be asked: how big of a problem is theft?

You might wonder, with no one around – How does the company stop thieves?

“So we know everybody that’s coming into the store, and then there’s like 15 cameras in each location, if somebody were to steal, we know who they are, and we have their credit card on file, so we’re able to get the stolen product back that way.”

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