The Aussie startup taking the fight to Aldi and Amazon with checkoutless shopping Down Under


TAGR founders Jaryd Terkelsen and Timothy James. Source: supplied.

Global giants Aldi and Amazon are building checkoutless shopping experiences as the lines between bricks and mortar and e-commerce start to blur. But the co-founder of Brisbane startup TAGR says there’s no reason SMEs can’t get in on the opportunity too.

In January, Aldi launched its first checkout-free Shop&Go store in London. Shoppers can download an app, enter the trial store, pick up the items they need, and walk out again.

They are then automatically charged for their goods, with the receipt appearing on the app.

It’s a similar concept to Amazon’s cashier-free Amazon Go stores in the US. And rumours are already flying as to when Aldi will roll out its new concept store globally — including in Australia.

But even if the German supermarket chain does bring this futuristic tech Down Under, it won’t be the first.

Queensland startup TAGR is already providing contactless and checkout-free retail tech to a handful of local businesses. It’s also gearing up to go national before the year is out, and international soon after.

Founded by Jaryd Terkelsen and Timothy James, TAGR currently focuses on fashion retail rather than groceries. It is also designed to make this tech available to small businesses.

While big retailers can create their own systems and apps, that’s not financially viable for the majority, Terkelsen tells SmartCompany.

TAGR is designed to have low implementation costs and low risk, making it accessible for businesses of any size. It also doesn’t require users to download an app or create an account.

Shoppers scan a QR code on entry, and can then scan the barcodes of individual products to add them to their cart or wishlist.

Still using their phones, they can pay using their digital method of choice, before strolling out of the store with their new products in hand.

Merging digital and physical retail

Following about 18 months of development, the product launched in the market in November, Terkelsen says.

Eight stores are currently using the tech, including Sabo Skirt stores in Queensland and Folke, a clothing store in the Gold Coast town of Robina.

The startup also has a “pretty aggressive pipeline” of businesses to onboard.

It’s early days yet, but the founder says the tech has generally led to increased conversion rates for the businesses — particularly around the busy Christmas and Boxing day trading periods — as well as an increase of average cart size.

The demand the founders have seen so far is indicative of a broader shift in retail.

While the COVID-19 pandemic led to a spike in e-commerce and increasing demand for convenience, shoppers are now looking for all the benefits of online shopping in bricks and mortar stores.

“We’re on a mission to merge the physical and digital worlds of retail,” Terkelsen says.

In-store checkout processes have been the same for decades, he notes. TAGR allows shoppers to browse online, and continue looking in store, or to browse in store and complete their transaction online later.

“We’re building out that environment to close the loop.”

Stores are also able to glean some of the insights e-commerce offers, taking note of browsing habits and building a digital relationship as well as an in-store one.

This is an important element of the TAGR technology, Terkelsen stresses. The idea is not to put sales assistants out of their jobs.

Rather, the tech frees them up to provide better customer service.

“Our whole thing is getting staff out from behind the counters and actually on the floor building relationships and helping customers through their purchasing,” he says.

“It’s helping stores be more effective with their staff.”


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2 months ago

sounds great

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