Buy Now, Text Later

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How much faith does a retailer or brand have in its customers’ honesty? To judge by many of those who are opening cashierless stores, not a lot, as gaining entry involves, variously, facial recognition, swiping a QR code or just waving your smartphone at a barrier. Once inside, you are likely to be watched throughout your progress through the space and when it comes time to pay, something of the kind is likely to be repeated once more.


All of which makes things a little cumbersome. In Manhattan’s Tribeca district, however, posh water brand Dirty Lemon has opened a small shop called The Drug Store where anybody can walk in, select a bottle of water ($10.00!) and then text what they have bought to the number provided, at which point payment will be taken.

As there are no barriers to entry, this one relies heavily on trust, but Dirty Lemon views the almost inevitable shrinkage as a ‘sampling cost’ and reckons it’s a price worth paying. Within the space, one of the walls is a floor-to-ceiling mirror, meaning that selfies are on the cards as is walking into the mirror thinking it’s an extension of the shop.

The store opened in September.