Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

Discussion
Rendering of Hudson Nonstop - Graphic: Business Wire
Jan 13, 2021
George Anderson

Hudson, which operates more than 1,000 stores in airports, other travel hubs and tourist destinations across North America, has announced the planned opening of a new store concept that allows customers to check out without having to stop at a cash register.

The company will open the new concept — Hudson Nonstop — in the first quarter of 2021 at Dallas Love Field Airport and plans to roll out other stores over the course of the year. Hudson is making use of Amazon.com’s Just Walk Out technology to enable customers to take items off the shelf and then automatically check out and submit a credit card payment using an app. The Nonstop stores will stock the same merchandise as Hudson’s conventional locations.

“Today’s traveler is progressively more connected, mobile, and time sensitive — and they have higher expectations for convenience, safety, and speed during their shopping experiences,” said Brian Quinn, Hudson chief operating officer, said in a statement. “The addition of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology perfectly complements our current digital footprint, providing travelers with yet another quick, secure, and contactless shopping experience that meets their needs.”

Hudson maintains that the store’s technology will free up associates to focus “on enhancing the shopping experience” of its customers. Shoppers trying to make flights will be able to move in and out of stores more quickly, relieving some of the stress associated with air travel.

The retailer said the new Nonstop concept is part of its commitment to “transform its business through digital innovation.” A press release announcing the store pointed to a Hudson initiative last year that introduced PPE vending machines with contactless payment technology across North America as another example.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely is the Hudson Nonstop store concept to connect in a positive way with airport travelers across North America? Do the economics of airport retailing make the use of Just Walk Technology any more or less viable than in other settings?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The Amazon Go stores I have visited were more of a novelty for me but that technology in an airport shop could be an actual flight saver."
"Contactless and fast transactions are definitely essential in pandemic world especially when traveling. This is indeed the future."
"Going to be a winner. I can see this concept working at self-serve gas stations, too."

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19 Comments on "Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?"


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David Naumann
BrainTrust

Airports are a perfect use case for Hudson’s Nonstop store concept, as convenience is a top priority for travelers. As with any application of Just Walk Out technology, the volume and profit margin must exceed the amortized cost of the expensive technology.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

I believe this will be a big hit in the U.S. The airport shopping experience is by nature “grab and go” and any concept that gets products consumers want into their hands faster and with less friction is going to be a hit. So much so that I would expect to see more of this in urban locations and areas with high pedestrian traffic.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Outside of the time it will take for passengers to become accustomed to this new, imperative technology, this is the way of the future. The concept has ramifications like reduced transmission of microbes, efficient checkout, and increased expediency of the entire purchase process. If it is not cost-prohibitive to implement (and I do think that this is very expensive at this time) and can be considered accurate, it will be here to stay, or it will come back when both of those criteria can be met.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

As someone who in non-pandemic times lives in airports, and who has had more than one anxious wait in line while a clueless traveler takes far too much time at the checkout, I love this idea. The Amazon Go stores I have visited were more of a novelty for me but that technology in an airport shop could be an actual flight saver.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The downside of course is that you will end up buying more things than you actually need.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I do that anyway!

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

This makes all the sense in the world and gives us another look into the future of retailing. It also supports the theory that Amazon Go is not about Amazon selling more, but showcasing the technology to license to others.

(As an aside, how many times have any of us gone into the news store at the airport to browse while waiting, waiting, waiting — we see something, a magazine, newspaper, book, snack, water and decide not to buy it because the checkout line is too long?)

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

If there is one place where contactless and cashier-less technology makes it compelling, it has to be an airport. Next in line should be movie theater concessions and sports venues.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

This is the perfect location to test these stores. Contactless and fast transactions are definitely essential in pandemic world especially when traveling. This is indeed the future.

russochristine
Guest
2 days 6 hours ago

YES, it definitely will take off. Lines at the register at Hudson are a major source of traveler stress (maybe that was just me!). I am all for it – however there is STILL a place for browsing so the right mix is a combination of search (focused and transactional) with Just Walk Out technology and browse which requires a larger brick and mortar footprint and involves human check out.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Finally — the perfect setting for this technology, with limited SKUs in a time-sensitive environment and customers who are technology-savvy.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

This sounds like great place for self-serve. Flyers will welcome a quick and convenient way to buy essentials and other goods before taking off.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I too think this is the wave of the future, for a variety of reasons. That said, it seems to be better suited to routine purchases than say, luxury goods transactions.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

In a number of ways, I think this is an ideal location for this technology: theft — which I think many of us always see as a problem with these unstaffed concepts — is likely much less in the controlled environment of an airport, and there’s round-the-clock traffic which, while maybe not profitable in off hours with staffing, would be without it.

All this having been said, there’s one huge problem: right now, air travel has collapsed; presumably it will come back … someday but until then, I see this as a greatly impaired sector.

Joe Skorupa
BrainTrust

Going to be a winner. I can see this concept working at self-serve gas stations, too.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

Sounds promising and exciting. I hope it works.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Makes sense, especially for the frequent traveler who needs to grab and go and doesn’t have to wait in line for other travelers who have questions. Provides an alternative to vending machines where the assortments are much more limited.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

Smart move by Hudson! The one thing airport travelers can do without is time waiting in line to buy a bottle of water for their flight. Hudson Nonstop may be a game changer for airport retailing. Frequent flyers will appreciate the convenience and occasional flyers will welcome the novelty. Hudson has just showed us what’s possible beyond brick and mortar for digital transformation at retail.

Karen Wong
BrainTrust

Airports are ideal for this type of solution. Not only does it eliminate security clearance risks, it allows retailers to sell 24/7 whenever flights are scheduled which isn’t possible today. I would be curious to know what the peak load is though and whether the technology today can handle the type of traffic airports can see during peak travel periods once people start traveling again.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The Amazon Go stores I have visited were more of a novelty for me but that technology in an airport shop could be an actual flight saver."
"Contactless and fast transactions are definitely essential in pandemic world especially when traveling. This is indeed the future."
"Going to be a winner. I can see this concept working at self-serve gas stations, too."

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