Just over a decade ago, self-service checkout technology began to become mainstream in Europe.
Since then, the cashierless retail experience has gained traction in the region as self-service options increasingly branch out into other retail sectors. Associated payment technologies, namely pay-at-the-pump and touchscreen fast food ordering kiosks, are now commonplace across the continent, supported by reduced staff and shorter queues.
To shift gears and improve the self-checkout experience, a number of companies have developed cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions that hint at what the future of commerce might look like. in-store retail after self-purchase. checkout terminals.
Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology has led the charge in this regard, with the company rolling out cashierless technology to Amazon Fresh Stores in the US and UK.
See also: Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ cashierless technology is gaining momentum with a new grocery store
Amazon’s smart grocery stores use a store-wide network of sensors and AI to track exactly what people are adding and removing items from their carts in real time. When shoppers are ready to leave, their connected accounts are automatically debited, instead of having to physically pay with a cashier or use a self-service kiosk.
Smart payment in Europe’s largest grocery chain
Europe’s largest food retailer, Carrefour, has also ventured into the AI-assisted shopping game.
The French multinational has launched its own smart payment system which uses a similar system of cameras and scanners to monitor what shoppers have picked up from the shelves. The first Carrefour “Flash 10/10” concept store opened in Paris last year after the technology was tested in a Carrefour City+ in the Mall of the Emirates.
Read more: Carrefour’s Digital-First expansion brings cashier-less technology to French shoppers
Where Carrefour’s Flash 10/10 stands out from other AI-based checkout solutions is that there are no barriers to entering the store, and customers don’t have to no need to create an account or pre-configure an account with a connected card or a bank account to be able to shop.
Shoppers who enter are tracked anonymously in the form of a virtual avatar, making it easy for anyone to shop at a Flash 10/10 store without a Carrefour account.
Instead of doing away with payment terminals altogether like Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology does, Carrefour has kept self-service payment terminals with traditional payment options, but in a simpler format.
Rather than requiring customers to scan each item individually, the kiosk already knows what they’ve picked up, letting the customer simply pay with their card, mobile wallet, or cash before leaving.
Related: German grocery chain Rewe opens standalone store in Berlin
In June, it was announced that Rewe, Germany’s second-largest grocery chain, and Israel-based computer vision company Trigo had rolled out a second hybrid self-driving grocery store with a checkout-less experience in Berlin, a year after the launch of the first one in downtown Cologne.
Additionally, earlier this year, Polish convenience giant Żabka Group announced that it had completed the opening of a chain of 25 stand-alone stores using contactless, AI-powered computer vision technology.
Other European supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Aldi are all piloting some version of AI-based frictionless shopping technology, a clear indication that contactless, frictionless and self-driving commerce is ushering in the future. retail for European buyers.
Giving a mobile touch to computer vision
Part of the reason that self-checkout kiosks have taken so long to reach the mass market is because of the significant costs associated with purchasing the digital hardware required to use this technology.
But German startup Nomitri is counting on a much cheaper intermediate step between the current European standard and the future of a fully automated shopping and payment experience.
The Berlin-based company, which seeks to disrupt the retail POS market, provides brick-and-mortar retailers with a low-cost, low-cost payment solution that shoppers can download to their mobile phone, without the need for a install multiple cameras or sensors. in stores or supermarkets.
See also: Low-cost self-checkout system aims to disrupt retail POS market
“We understand that retailers don’t have the money to invest in all of this infrastructure up front, nor do they have the time and IT sophistication to put all of this in place,” said the company’s co-founder and CEO, Trinh Le-Fiedler, told PYMNTS in an interview.
Read more: Biometric payment on the horizon for UK shoppers
Much like the high-tech smartstore model, Nomitri uses computer vision to automatically detect items without the need to scan a barcode.
However, as the startup integrates its AI technology into a mobile-friendly software solution, all retailers need to do is attach smartphone holders to their shopping carts to allow customers to easily scan items with their devices. mobiles.
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