These new 24-hour Toronto convenience stores have no cashiers
TORONTO -- New convenience stores are popping up in Toronto that are completely self-serve, have no cashiers and are open 24 hours a day.
If you want to get inside to buy something, you’ll need to download an app to your smartphone.
"The store is completely unmanned and cashierless and in order to get into the store you need to have the mobile app," John Douang, CEO and President of Aisle 24, told CTV News Toronto.
Douang said that once you download the mobile app and create an account, you can get inside. Shoppers can then pick out what they want to buy, go to the checkout station, scan their items and make their payment.
Cameras and security systems are in place to ensure all goods are paid for and, in the event of a problem, a person’s account can be suspended until the issue is resolved.
Aisle 24 currently operates eight self serve stores in Ontario and Quebec, but has another 30 planned to be opened soon and hopes to open as many as 200 across Canada within two years.
The items carried in the stores are similar to other convenience stores, but along with snacks, prepared foods and beverages, there may be grocery items like produce, baked items and canned goods.
While Douang admits there has been some criticism since the store has done away with cashier jobs, he said cashier jobs are not positions that many people want these days.
"There is a labour shortage and a lot of people that are out there don't want low wage frontline jobs, they are holding out for something better," he said.
Douang said the company still needs employees to stock shelves, order products and monitor the stores.
“While we don't have frontline workers, there are a lot of staff behind the scenes making this happen,” he said.
Zane Akoodie stopped in to check out the self-serve store and said there are very few convenience stores in his area.
"It appeals very well to my demographic, (younger people) it's very simple to do everything now wirelessly through your phone," Akoodie said.
Douang said he believes other retailers will also adopt this format.
"This type of technology and innovation is going to be prevalent in many different businesses in the future,” he said.
Self-serve stores could also be a good fit for apartment buildings or condominiums, so customers don't need to make a big trip to get common items and the store can be open 24-hours a day.