Many of us have gotten used to self-checkouts these days but a new store coming to Minnesota won't have any self-checkouts-- or any checkouts at all.

During the pandemic, when keeping to yourself and maintaining that social distance was a thing, self-checkouts began to become more and more popular at grocery and department stores here in Minnesota and across the country.

This CNN story notes that self-checkouts were first developed in the 80's as a way to lower labor expenses. Now though, some stores (looking at you, Target and Walmart) have started to limit the use of those self-checkouts to 'improve the user experience,'  as Target said, though there's also another reason.

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Stores have also found that those self-checkouts aren't such a good thing for their bottom line. According to CNN: 'They have found that self-checkout leads to higher merchandise losses from customer errors and intentional shoplifting — known as “shrink” — than human cashiers ringing up customers,' CNN noted.

That's why this new store that's set to open later this summer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is kind of interesting. It won't feature any checkouts at all. Or cashiers even. Wait, what? How does that work?

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According to Axios Twin Cities, the store-- called On The Fly-- will open in Terminal 2 at MSP later this month. It'll carry all the usual items those convenience-type shops at airports stock, like candy, gum, beverages, food, etc. But without any checkouts or cashiers.

Axios Twin Cities says it works like this:

  • Customers swipe a card to enter the store via turnstiles at the door, gather what you want to buy, and walk out.
  • An AI system identifies the items and automatically charges the card as you leave the store.

Airport store chain Estes will own Minnesota's On The Fly store, which will be powered by Amazon's 'Just Walk Out' technology-- which doesn't require any checkouts. Amazon says that other On The Fly stores which are already open at other airports across the country are being well received:

Customers value Just Walk Out technology because they are usually on a “mission driven” shopping trip, making quick purchases of relatively few items, and can shop just like they would in any other store without standing in line to pay or scanning items at self-checkout.

Cutting down on long lines at the airport is a good thing, especially if you're rushing to make your flight, right? Minnesota's On The Fly store is set to open sometime later this summer, perhaps as early as July, Axios Twin Cities noted.

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