FutureProof Retail is donating its line-free checkout technology "while there is a national state of emergency" to retailers like grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and others that "serve essential community needs" so that consumers can shop while practicing social distancing, the company announced.
According to its website, retailers that have implemented the technology can usher between 20% and 30% of customers out of line during peak busy times by assigning store associates to offer the option to customers at the store entrance, at the back of checkout lines, and via storewide announcements.
Retailers can add their branding to the express checkout app, customize marketing channels, and manage operations like viewing transactions in real time, per the company's landing page.
As more cities and state governments discourage people from leaving their homes, it's unclear just how much retailers will be upended as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Though the National Retail Federation previously estimated that retail sales could still reach $3.9 trillion despite the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has more recently called for the government to support the retail sector as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.
Grocers and e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon are making moves to hire more workers to keep up with growing in-store and online demand for essentials. Amazon has seen an uptick in out-of-stock household staple products as consumers shift their spending online. Meanwhile, grocery ordering services like Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have seen a spike in app downloads during the pandemic.
For now, it appears that non-essential retailers have been the hardest hit during the outbreak. Retailers like Ulta, J.C. Penney and Macy's have temporarily closed their storefronts. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered indoor malls to shut down, Simon Property Group has closed all of its domestic retail properties, and Taubman has closed 19 of its domestic shopping centers through March 29.