- Wawa has converted one of its convenience stores in Philadelphia into a fully digital, shelfless shopping experience, according to a Tuesday report from the Philadelphia Business Journal.
- Items inside the store, which is located on Drexel University’s campus, can only be purchased through Wawa’s mobile app or via in-store touch screens, according to the report. Staff members working the counter then pull together each order.
- Wawa’s latest initiative highlights the c-store industry’s focus on branching out into new, nontraditional store formats like urban shops and travel centers.
While cashierless locations have become a mainstay throughout the c-store industry in recent years, shelfless stores hadn’t broken onto the scene before now.
Wawa took six days to remodel the 8,760-square-foot store located at 3300 Market St. on Drexel’s campus, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal report. The retailer then reopened the store to the public on July 26.
In a statement to the publication, Wawa said this remodeled store will help customers get their orders faster. The retailer also noted that this remodel didn’t impact any jobs at the store.
"We are always testing new formats to provide the greatest level of convenience for our customers, some of which include our drive-thrus, our fly-thru mobile order windows and now a full-serve, digital experience format," Wawa said.
This change also comes in the midst of Wawa closing several of its Philadelphia stores due to concerns about crime.
A spokesperson from Wawa did not respond by press time to an inquiry from C-Store Dive on why Wawa has decided to try a shelfless store and if it plans to open more of these locations moving forward.
Wawa originally opened this store in September 2018. At the time, it was Wawa’s “newest and largest urban design prototype in Philadelphia,” according to a 2018 report from Drexel University. It featured indoor and outdoor seating among other unique design elements.
Wawa operates more than 1,000 stores across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. The retailer currently has plans to increase its footprint from seven to 14 states and surpass 1,800 locations by 2030.