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Minor league team debuts baseball’s first autonomous store

The Polar Park minor league baseball stadium is making history.

The Worcester Red Sox have retrofitted a convenience/memorabilia shop at their home stadium for frictionless shopping.

The team, a Triple A minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team, partnered with retail computer vision platform provider Standard AI to retrofit the “WooSox” market store located near centerfield in its Polar Park stadium in Worcester, Mass. First announced in September 2019, the store leverages artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cameras and the cloud to provide a fully autonomous shopping experience.

Standard AI retrofitted the WooSox Market store, which sells snacks and sports memorabilia, using ceiling-mounted cameras and proprietary computer vision software which associates each shopper with the items they pick up. After adding their payment information to the Standard AI checkout app, customers can enter the store, select the items they want, and tap their phone to walk out.

Customers will then receive an accurate receipt in minutes. WooSox Market will officially open for business Saturday, Dec. 11, during the “Inaugural WooSox Winter Wonderland” holiday celebration. The Standard AI platform does not use facial recognition. 

Amazon, a pioneer of autonomous shopping with its Amazon Go store model in January 2018, offers its leading-edge contactless shopping and payment options at the recently opened Climate Pledge Area in Seattle. Frictionless shopping options at select food and beverage stores within the arena include Just Walk Out, as well as  Amazon One palm-based payment.

While Climate Pledge Arena is home to the NHL's Seattle Kraken and WNBA's Seattle Storm, Polar Park is the first baseball facility to offer a frictionless shopping experience. Outside the world of professional sports, many convenience and grocery retailers have been piloting cashierless stores.

For example, convenience retailer Circle K recently worked with Standard AI to retrofit a Tempe, Ariz. location without ceasing store operations or altering its layout. The retailer was able to integrate the Standard AI computer vision platform fully with its store’s retail operations, including inventory management and visual merchandising systems.

Using AI-powered cameras mounted at strategic locations throughout the store, the Standard AI system identifies the products shoppers pick up and automatically records the purchases on the Circle K mobile app, eliminating time spent at traditional checkout areas.

And fuel/convenience retailer BP just began retrofitting select convenience stores across its network to provide checkout-free shopping, using the Grabandgo autonomous checkout platform.

“Worcester has a rich history of innovation, making it ideal for baseball’s first autonomous retail market,” said WooSox president Dr. Charles Steinberg. “The WooSox Market adds a wonderful convenience that means less time in line and more time enjoying our beautiful ballpark.” 

“Sporting events are the perfect venue for autonomous retail, ensuring no fan has to wait in line or miss a minute of action on the field. We could not be more excited to partner with the Worcester Red Sox to open baseball’s first autonomous retail store,” said Jordan Fisher, CEO and co-founder, Standard AI.

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