‘Frictionless’ Mobile Checkout Tech Launched at Retailer La Vie En Rose in Canada [Interviews]

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Leav, a Canadian tech startup that provides stores with a comprehensive platform offering a frictionless checkout process, has signed an agreement with leading intimate apparel retailer, La Vie en Rose, to implement Leav across the retailer’s four downtown Montréal locations and one Bikini Village location.

Leav is a mobile shopping platform that enables shoppers to checkout on their phone from anywhere in the store without needing to download an app or create an account. The company said the future of retail is in-store, and Leav aims to achieve that vision by providing retailers with a powerful tool that enables them to focus on sales and customer service while giving shoppers their time back at scale.

Olivier Roy, Co-Founder and CEO of Leav, which is based in Montreal, said the initial idea for the company began in November 2019.

At the time, Roy and others were in a bar in Montreal and wanted to pay their bill at the table. But the server was not available and it took about 45 minutes for him to come. So they started brainstorming on how they could pay their bill at the table. The first thing that came to mind is they needed to connect with the POS. They needed a link between a webpage and the POS of the restaurant.

Image: Leav

They started working on a solution for a few months and the first mockups. Then COVID hit in March 2020. In about July, they raised about $150,000 from friends and family for the initiative. With restaurants shut down because of the pandemic, they started looking at the retail sector. 

Olivier Roy

“It was always where we wanted to bring Leav in the future. It was always the end goal to be in retail. To be able to skip the line and shop as fast as we wanted. So we did the pivot and the goal we set for ourselves was to open the first autonomous store in Canada for December 1, 2020,” said Roy. “So we had about five months to make it happen, to develop the technology, build the system.

“Come December we had rented our own store at the Eaton Centre in Montreal. Beautiful store. First floor. Street level store. We renovated everything ourselves. We bought the merchandise and it was a real Leav store branded. That was quite a success.”

The concept gained traction with exposure to retailers and consumers who thought the idea was really cool. From there, it rebuilt the technology from scratch in 2021 until the fall when it was ready to roll out the product. Leav started working with La Vie en Rose and started integration with its POS. In April of this year, it added its first store with the retailer in the Eaton Centre.

Leav at Montreal Eaton Centre (Image: Leav)

Recently, it added another three more of the retailer’s stores. Roy said the company is aiming to have its platform in about 20 stores by the end of the year in Quebec and Ontario. Leav is also working with Parc Olympique and other retailers Roy said he could not announce at this time.

“There’s a massive labour shortage and it’s affecting most retailers. It’s a massive problem.”

“If you go to any grocery store, you’re going to see signs everywhere that they are hiring. That’s a problem we can solve by reducing the number of self-checkout stations, that costly hardware. It’s not super fun to use. So for every retailer Leav can be a great tool to mitigate check out lines, solve the problem that they are losing billions a year because of abandoned carts.”

Image: Leav
Image: Leav

Leav said retailers can cut minutes from every checkout, making the experience up to 10 times faster. Its simple three-step process enables shoppers to simply scan the item(s) they want to purchase, pay using their preferred credit card, and leave with their purchases in-hand – without having to download any applications. Retailers benefit from this integrated system environment and experience increased efficiencies as staff can focus on sales and customer service, thereby streamlining operations.

Evgeny Grachev

“We believe that the future of retail is in-store, and all one needs to do is enhance the customer experience. Leav does just that and provides retailers the tools to automate low-value tasks to help them focus on what really matters – sales and customer service,” said Evgeny Grachev, Leav’s Cofounder and Chief Product Officer.

Leav cited a recent survey from Adyen, a leading payment provider, indicating that one of the greatest challenges in retail has always occurred during the checkout process, costing North American retailers an estimated US $21.9 billion. 

“We are excited to be the first retailer to partner with Leav. The option of self-checkout at some of our stores will enable our sales associates to spend more time helping customers find what they are looking for. As one of Canada’s leading intimate apparel retailers, La Vie en Rose is proud to be the first to go to market with this technologically advanced easy to use platform. It is in line with our values of providing a seamless and effortless experience, where and when customers need it,” added François Roberge, President and CEO of La Vie en Rose.

For more information on Leav, Retail Insider readers can set up a demonstration by visiting this landing page.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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