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Grabango targets Amazon's stores by eliminating lines, not cashiers

Startup Grabango is taking on Amazon’s (AMZN) cashierless stores, as the e-commerce giant reportedly plans on expanding to more locations next year.

The rise of a cashless economy has led a growing number of merchants to facilitate purchases with credit cards and apps. It’s also sparked concerns about those without credit or banking access potentially being left out — and how cashiers will be impacted.

However, the company’s CEO contends Grabango’s strategy is different than other rivals, because the business isn’t aiming to displace cashiers. Instead, it’s working to get rid of shoppers waiting in lines at brick-and-mortar stores altogether.

“I think going cashier-less is a mistake. I think it's exclusionary in the way that Silicon Valley sometimes makes moves in that direction,” Grabango CEO Will Glaser told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

The technology service provider’s system keeps a running total of products selected, so employees no longer need to scan every purchase at the checkout.  

Grabango aims to eliminate checkout lines at stores. Courtesy: Grabango

“Existing shoppers can continue to shop as they always have and make a payment with cash, credit card, Apple Pay, SNAP benefits,” Glaser said. “And any payment method that was accepted before the installation of Grabango continues to be accepted afterwards.” 

Grabango recently partnered with retailer Giant Eagle to use its technology in over 400 locations. That differs from Amazon Go’s method of having consumers scan a shopping app, or a credit or debit card, in order to set foot in stores. 

The latter method has drawn fire from some advocates who say it would discriminate against consumers without credit or bank accounts.

“Making the decision to eliminate those that don't have good credit from your store is a terrible idea sociologically and frankly, business-wise for the retailer,” Glaser said.

Retailers would like to sell food to everyone and we are completely supportive of that. So we're not putting turnstiles at the entrance to stores that are keeping people out. We continue to welcome everyone into the store,” he added.


McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat

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