Exclusive: Mapco opens first checkout-free store

Mapco is utilizing machine learning and computer vision technology to let shoppers avoid waiting in line.
Mapco frictionless shopping
Mapco is opening its first frictionless store.

Mapco is utilizing machine learning and computer vision technology to let shoppers avoid waiting in line.

In a retail technology deployment exclusively reported first in Chain Store Age, the regional convenience store chain is partnering with Silicon Valley technology startup Grabango to open a checkout-free store in Brentwood, Tenn. As initially announced in February 2022, shoppers at the store will use the Grabango app for their Apple or Android smartphone instead of checking 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, and there are no special shelves, carts, baskets, or turnstiles required to enter or shop. The technology also does not require any changes to store layout or product mix.

As a result, the shopping experience is fully contactless. Customers simply select the items they want from store shelves and are billed through the Grabango app. Payment is contactless and automatic, with no need for barcode scanning.

Several other grocery and convenience chains are also utilizing Grabango checkout-free technology. For example, Chevron is piloting a frictionless shopping experience with the solution at one of its ExtraMile gas/convenience stores in San Ramon, Calif., and Circle K has retrofitted six existing stores in Tucson, Ariz. for frictionless shopping with Grabango.

"We're excited to offer this game-changing checkout-free technology at our Brentwood location," said Frederic Chaveyriat, CEO of Mapco. "We look forward to bringing the same great MAPCO products our Brentwood customers know and love with the added convenience of a checkout-free option."

"Mapco is an industry-leading operator focused on delivering better shopping experiences for their customers, and we are honored to be working with them to bring the convenience of checkout-free to shoppers,” said Andrew Radlow, chief revenue officer at Grabango, in exclusive commentary to Chain Store Age. "What we’re especially proud of is the ease and speed with which Grabango was able to deploy in the existing Mapco store, not once closing the store or turning away customers, and the Mapco team was a great partner through it all.”

"We're pleased to bring the time-saving benefits of Grabango's checkout-free solution to another partner, especially one as committed to their shoppers' experience as Mapco," said Will Glaser, CEO of Grabango. "We know that Grabango will delight shoppers and deliver value to the business as this capability is shared with more Mapco shoppers every day."

Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., Mapco operates more than 300 convenience and fuel retailing stores in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. Mapco is a subsidiary of COPEC, a South America-based retail company.

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