Supermarkets without check-outs have been sprouting over the past year. In January 2018, Seattle Go opened, baptised as ‘supermarket 4.0’; 12 others soon opened, with the latest one in Manhattan last May. The objective is similar to Bezoz’s, to open thousands of technological supermarkets within two years.
The American giant Mayflower has plans to enter the UK market through London with the new, high-tech, ‘Go’ supermarkets.
The idea of ‘Go’ is really quite simple: a customer walks in, they shop, and they leave. Shelves are monitored by sensors, cameras and an advanced software which registers items taken from shelves without the need to scan barcodes. The receipt is then visualised on the app, which is the focal point of the system.
The store in New York has kept a secret to anyone who has not kept up with US retail news. There is still the possibility to pay with cash after a user has scanned their items through the mobile app.
Automation of sale points is not an innovation reserved for the West, rather, it is a global phenomenon. Asia is leading the race with 7Fresh supermarkets from JD.com or staff-less stores in Jakarta, aiming towards more visual engagement.
Tesco e Carrefour
Turning back to England, Tesco, with over 2,000 sales points in the nation, is already working towards new tech called “Shop and Go”.
Tests are being carried out in a supermarket of around 1,000 metres squared. The customer enters the store either by scanning a QR code or a loyalty card. From that moment 150 cameras on the ceiling track the customer throughout their visit and generate 3D view of the products gathered. Upon exit, the shopping is charged directly to the credit card.
Differently from Amazon Go, it exclusively uses cameras and no sensors, perhaps a less expensive choice. The first “Shop and Go” should open in 2020 after all the necessary testing.
Carrefour, the first European retailer with more than 12,00 sale points in 30 countries, is also aiming towards high-tech supermarkets. The group is supposed to partner with Oopius, a firm specialised in image-recognising technology. An advanced computer-vision system, based on artificial intelligence, is already digitalising shelved products. Monitoring through cameras is the natural progression for this system.
Even the Italian group Conad is eying this new grocery shopping format. Towards the end of 2018, Conad secured a partnernship with the Israeli firm Tracxpoint, for a new technological project. The idea is based on shopping carts with cameras, weight sensors and visual scanners, to identify any item added or removed. According to the retailer, this will be the most advanced solution to date since these “high-tech trollies” will have to instantly recognise over 100 products.
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