Tag: Sam’s Club

2018, A Big Year of Cashierless Shopping!

2018, A Big Year of Cashierless Shopping!

2018 is a big year of Cashierless Shopping!
2018 is a big year of Cashierless Shopping!

In 2018, technological innovations of retailers for cashierless shopping have raised the bar over the expectations of customers on the convenience in the retail checkout process. Following the roll out of the checkout free Amazon Go at Seattle in January this year, the trend of cashierless shopping seems to have picked up steam among a significant number of retailers and start-ups.

In this article, I present a list that provides an overview of the technologies of such retailers and start-ups. Here we go!

Amazon Go:

In January 2018, Amazon opened the first checkout free convenience store, Amazon Go in Seattle. Since then, it has opened two additional stores in Seattle and a couple of stores in Chicago and San Francisco. To ease off the check-out process at the stores, one has to download the Amazon Go app (which is available in both iOS and Android) and have an Amazon prime account.

Before entering the store, the customer has to open the amazon app in the smart phone, swipe it at the turnstile present at the storefront, put the phone into the pocket and start shopping. When the customer takes a product, an entry of the same gets added to the app’s virtual cart. And, when the customer puts the product back to the shelf, the entry of the item gets automatically removed from the virtual cart. Once after leaving the store, the technology adds up the prices of the collected items and charges the customer’s Amazon account. The receipt of the transaction is send straight to the app, which completes the checkout process.

Amazon has used computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion, much like one would find in self-driving cars, to implement the above transaction process and calls the same as Just Walk Out Technology.

Click here to watch how the checkout process pans out in Amazon Go!

X-Marts:

In 2017, the Chinese e-commerce Company JD.com had announced that it would be opening hundreds of unmanned convenience stores called X-Marts across China by partnering with the leading Chinese Real Estate Developer China Overseas Land & Investment LTD. As of now, the company has opened 20 of such stores. Technological solutions for the stores have been fully rendered by JD.com’s in-house logistics innovation lab JDX. The solution is provided by integrating smart technologies such as RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), facial recognition and image recognition.

The checkout process is facilitated via the ‘JD.ID’ app. Before starting to shop, one has to open the app, go to my account and tap the option, ‘JD.ID X’. As a result, a QR (Quick Response) code will be generated in the app, which has to be swiped at the turnstile. Following which, one’s ID is confirmed through facial recognition. Thereupon, the customer will be good to go for shopping.

RFID tags are attached to each of the products that are present in the store. Post the shopping, the checkout terminal will identify the customers through facial recognition, add up the prices of the picked items and charge their credit card. The transaction details will be sent directly to their smart phones.

Watch the video, ‘Introducing JD.ID X-Mart’, to know how the checkout process works in X-Marts!

Sam’s Club Now:

This year in June, the Walmart’s members-only warehouse retailer Sam’s Club announced that it will be opening a new store in Dallas. In October, it shared the news that the new store will be named Sam’s Club Now and it will serve not just as a retail outlet but also as an epicentre of technological innovation for Sam’s Club. In the new store, Sam’s Club will be testing out technologies like computer vision, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics.

To kick off its process of technological innovation, the retailer will be launching an app named Sam’s Club Now based on its existing ‘Scan & Go.’ app. In the app, by combining machine learning with the customer’s earlier purchase data, a shopping list will be auto-filled. This shopping list will then be used with the beacon technology to map the most favourable route for customers through the store. A map will pop up in the app and guide the users within the store.

Also, the app embodies voice search to identify products in the store. And, by using the app’s augmented reality feature, customers can scan the items and bring them to life.

Once the shopping is done, the customers will be getting a code in the app. To complete checkout, the code has to be scanned at the exit.

Click here to check out the video about the technological amenities that are available at Sam’s Club Now!

7-Eleven:

The convenience store, 7-Eleven will be introducing a service, similar to that of Sam’s Club Now, at 14 of its locations in the Dallas metro area. To avail the service, customers have to download the 7-Eleven app and register for the 7Rewards loyalty program. Also, the customers have to be located within the geofenced area surrounding the pilot stores.

In the products available in the stores, there will be options for the customers to scan using the app. Post the scanning, payment can be done via Apple Pay, Google Pay, a debit or a credit card. Once the payment is done, a QR code will appear in the confirmation screen. The QR code has to be scanned while exiting the store.

Zippin:

Bay Area start-up Zippin has launched an automated checkout store in San Francisco. The store is expected to turn into a full-sized convenience store offering a cashierless shopping experience in the coming months. To shop in this store, customers have to download the Zippin app, open it, scan the QR code displayed in the app at the store’s turnstile, pick up items and leave the store. Customers need not scan at turnstile to exit.

Overhead cameras available in the store track the movement of people. Weight sensors, over which the products are placed in the shelves, track the items picked from and put back to the shelves by the customers. When the customers leave the store, the app sums up the prices of the items picked and charges their online account.

Rather than to rake in profits, Zippin has set up the store as a prototype to showcase their new-found technology to potential clients and is aiming to sell it to other stores.

Also, the bay area neighbours of Zippin such as AiFi, AiPoly, Standard Cognition and Trigo Vision too have jumped on the bandwagon in bringing out similar systems. Out of which, Standard Cognition has announced that it aims to equip 3,000 convenience stores in Japan with its technology, by summer 2020. And, it is planning to start its own demo store in Japan. As of now, its technology is available at its proof-of-concept location at San Francisco, Standard Store.

Trigo Vision:

The retail automation platform Trigo Vision, shared the news that the Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal will be adopting its software platform in its 272 locations.

Macy’s:

Apart from the aforementioned instances of cashierless shopping, the American department store chain Macy’s is planning to implement a mobile payment feature in all its stores before the 2018 holiday season. Macy’s is facilitating the payment process via its app.

And, as per a Reuters report, Microsoft appears to be in developing an Amazon-Go-like technology and is in talks with retailers like Walmart to become their strategic ally.

Conclusion:

Apart from offering a seamless shopping experience, the implementation of the cashierless checkout feature helps the retailers to better their inventory management. With many retailers climbing on the bandwagon of adopting a cashierless shopping feature, we have to wait to see on whether this trend is going to be the wave of the future or a flash in the pan.

Image Source: jeshoots.com