Coen Markets opens two checkout-free stores

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Coen logo
Coen Markets is testing a frictionless store experience.

A convenience/fuel retailer is enabling shoppers to pay for purchases without needing to stand in line or scan their items.

Coen Markets Inc. is launching two checkout-free stores in partnership with frictionless shopping startup Grabango at stores in Oakdale and Southpark, Penn. Both stores sell fuel from Amoco, a BP brand. BP has been retrofitting Amoco convenience store locations across its network with Grabango’s platform for the past two years, as part of a broader initiative to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner.

[Read more: Fuel/convenience retailer to roll out automated checkout]

Based on pure computer vision technology, the Grabango solution is free for customers to use and allows shoppers to skip the line altogether. There are no special shelves, carts, baskets, or turnstiles required to enter or shop. To get started, shoppers download the free Grabango app and shop as they normally would.

The Grabango system keeps a running tally of items picked up, so there’s no need to scan each one on the way out. The Grabango solution does not use facial recognition technology. Instead, it utilizes computer vision and machine learning to track shopped items. All data is anonymized to protect customer privacy.

Shoppers grab the products they need and are billed in the app. Payment is contactless and automatic. Other convenience/fuel retailers that have rolled out Grabango-based frictionless shopping initiatives at their stores include Chevron and Mapco. An in November 2021, Circle K retrofitted six existing stores in the greater Tucson, Ariz. area with technology from Grabango.

In addition, grocery chain Giant Eagle installed Grabango’s at a pilot Giant Eagle store with multiple executions of the technology being optimized, including an app-based solution and another that allowed the customer to pay with any tender they choose.

“At Coen we’re always looking at how technology can improve our shoppers’ experiences,” said Colin Dornish, VP of consumer experience and innovation at Coen. "Grabango makes shopping fast and easy for them.”

"Checkout-free is quickly accelerating into the mainstream. Grabango's recent slew of store launches, all turned up in rapid succession, is part of the industry's rapid expansion that we'll see in 2023," said Will Glaser, CEO of Grabango.

Coen Markets, Inc., founded in 1923, operates convenience stores selling Amoco fuel in the Pittsburgh tri-state region.