dirty lemon
dirty lemon

Beverage store where paying is voluntary

CASHIERLESS technology just took on a whole new meaning - and this model is all about trust.

Dirty Lemon, a beverage brand that only sells its products via text message, has just opened up its first permanent bricks-and-mortar store in New York's Tribeca neighbourhood. Inside the narrow space, called The Drug Store, customers will find rows and rows of the brand's increasingly popular health drinks.

Something they won't find? A cashier, or a checkout counter for that matter.

The unique retail concept mirrors Amazon's cashier-free Go stores, where customers use the Amazon Go mobile app to enter the store and the e-tail giant's 'Just Walk Out' technology automatically debits shoppers' accounts for the items they take.

But, unlike Amazon Go, which now has five stores either open or in the works across America, Dirty Lemon is all about the honour system. The beverage company with a cult following invites anyone to walk in, choose one of their bottled elixirs from the fridge, and walk right out.

Can unmanned stores reshape the retail game? Picture: Dirty Lemon
Can unmanned stores reshape the retail game? Picture: Dirty Lemon

It's as easy as "grab a bottle, send us a txt, move on w/ your life," the Dirty Lemon team explained in an Instagram story announcing the opening.

So it's basically a walk-in vending machine where customers can grab a beverage on the go without even having to take out their wallet.

To pay, shoppers simply text Dirty Lemon which beverage they picked up and within five minutes, a 24-hour customer representative charges their credit card (new customers are prompted to open up an account).

"We're moving beyond experiential marketing and into experimental - this type of engagement enables the convenience customers have come to expect from our brand," Zak Normandin, CEO of Dirty Lemon said in a statement.

"Our customer prefers conversational interaction - we're committed to a transaction process that eliminates all unnecessary steps."

Of course, a few safety precautions have been implemented, including cameras installed to monitor the space, a heat map tracker to see how many people are entering, and a RFID tracker to see what products are taken out of the refrigerators.

The Drug Store in NYC’s trendy Tribeca neighbourhood. Picture: Supplied
The Drug Store in NYC’s trendy Tribeca neighbourhood. Picture: Supplied

It's certainly a bold tech-enabled move for Dirty Lemon, whose health-focused drinks hit the market in 2015 and are typically sold online by the case via SMS.

The bottled elixirs are available in range of flavours, including charcoal, matcha, ginseng, an anti-ageing rose tonic, sleep tonic, and a beauty elixir containing collagen - all purporting to boost different aspects of your health.

While Australia is yet to get its first "grab and go" concept store, several companies in China even beat Amazon to the punch. Staffless shops have been sprouting up across Asia in recent years as customers become increasingly interested in faster self-service technologies in large commuter cities.

Perhaps it's only a matter of time before the unmanned shop model hits Aussie shores.



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