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06/02/2022

Circle K in big rollout of self-checkout technology

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Circle K
Circle K is rolling out Mashgin frictionless checkout technology.

Circle K is getting “smart” about its checkouts.

The convenience retailer’s latest foray into frictionless shopping is an implementation of more than 10,000 touchless checkout systems from Mashgin. The artificial intelligence-powered self-checkout system, called “Smart Checkout,” will be installed in more than 7,000 Circle K and Couche-Tard stores during the next three years. View a short video of the Circle K smart checkout here.

The rollout builds upon the successful deployment of Mashgin autonomous checkout systems across nearly 500 Circle K locations in the U.S. and Sweden since 2020, as well as at Couche-Tard's retail innovation lab store on the campus of McGill University in Montreal.Referred to as "Smart Checkout" in Circle K and Couche-Tard stores, the system is a compact countertop device that fits into an existing store layout. It uses computer vision to recognize items presented from virtually any angle and instantly ring them up in a single transaction.

Customers place their items on the Mashgin touchless checkout system, which uses cameras to ring up everything in under a second. There is no need for shoppers to download an app or find and scan barcodes. Instead, they put items down, pay as they normally would, and leave in as little as 10 seconds, which Mashgin says is eight times faster than traditional self-checkout.

Circle K pursues cashierless checkout
The expanded Mashgin technology rollout is the latest in a series of autonomous shopping projects Circle K has launched in the past two years. In November 2021, the retailer retrofitted six existing stores in Tucson, Ariz. with computer vision-based checkout-free technology from Grabango. Shoppers skip the traditional checkout line, and instead scan the Grabango app when they’re done shopping. Receipts are delivered in the Grabango app for a seamless shopping experience.

In October 2021, Circle K began offering an artificial intelligence (AI)-based, fully checkout-free shopping experience in a Tempe, Ariz. store. The company partnered with retail computer vision platform provider Standard AI to open its retrofitted Tempe location, featuring a frictionless checkout system designed to allow shoppers to completely avoid waiting in a checkout line and deliver accurate receipts in minutes.

Circle K worked with Standard AI to retrofit the Tempe location without ceasing store operations or altering its layout. Circle K and Standard AI initially announced the retrofit project in August 2020.

"We're committed to investing in and scaling technology that sets a new standard for convenience with our customers and advances our mission to make our customers' lives a little easier every day," said Magnus Tägtström, VP, global innovation at Couche-Tard. "The Smart Checkout system powered by Mashgin's game-changing technology shortens lines, improves the customer experience and frees up our teams to focus on helping our customers. We look forward to introducing this new platform to stores across our network."

"We've been hearing great feedback from our customers in the stores where Smart Checkout has been introduced, and it's easy to see why. Mashgin's platform is incredibly simple to use and highly intuitive for customers," said Alex Miller, executive VP operations, North America, and global commercial optimization for Couche-Tard. "Through this agreement, I am convinced that we will scale a great tool that makes it easy for our customers and team members, saving time and putting our customers and people first in our global operations."

Alimentation Couche-Tard operates close to 14,500 Circle K stores in the U.S., Canada and 23 other countries.