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Autonomous stores – 24/7 cost-effective shopping

Przemysław Kozera, 25 września 2020

Most convenience stores are open 6am-10pm which enables them to conduct business during the most ‚profitable’ hours of the day. However, there are customers how prefer to shop at night. Do profits increase if a store switches to 24/7? Surge Cloud is happy to share its experiences.


A typical 24/7 store will generate more costs which may not necessarily be covered by increased sales. Why is that? The staff have to work in shifts, which means you need to employ more people. Night work is usually paid extra due to the fact that it’s more demanding on the staff. Depending on the location there are also certain regulations in place which protect the staff working non-standard hours. You should also be prepared for an increase in losses as certain individuals are prone to spontaneously shoplift at night, especially after a few cans of beer. Usually the main profit drivers for 24/7 stores are cigarettes and alcohol sold at higher margins. However, late-night sale of such products can be prohibited in certain areas, and one of the keys to any 24/7 store’s success is a location that will attract late-night customers.

That is not to say that a 24/7 store has no business value. Surge Cloud has created a technology which makes it possible to run 24/7 autonomous stores with no staff. What’s more, even with no cigarettes or alcohol on offer, an autonomous store can generate 10% of all of its sales during non-standard hours. Why is it profitable?

Surge Cloud have built its concept from the ground up making system efficiency and customer experience its top priorities at every step of the way. Customers have 24/7 access to a fully stocked convenience store with good quality fresh produce on offer. In the case of late-night shoppers this means larger basket values and more sales. Let’s not forget the quickness and ease of shopping. A robust monitoring system powered by an algorithm allows access to the establishment and makes it possible to shop without taking out your wallet which reduces losses. Every item has an RIFD tag and is being monitored, so any shoplifting attempt results in adding the product to the basket and charging the customer’s payment method. Staff-wise, running an autonomous store requires a lot less effort. Based on Surge Cloud’s experience, it is possible to manage two autonomous stores with the same number of staff it takes to run a traditional store while keeping the same working hours.

If you’ve ever considered expanding your retail business, you should definitely look into autonomous solutions. You can expect a relatively fast ROI and more profits from expanding your chain.