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04/20/2022

Now batting at Fenway Park – contactless checkout

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Caper Counter at Fenway Park
Fenway Park is now offering contactless checkout.

America’s oldest professional baseball stadium is offering customers a leading-edge method of buying concessions.

Fenway Park, home stadium of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team, is unveiling the Instacart Caper Counter artificial intelligence (AI)-based POS system. The stadium is rolling out the new Caper Counter checkout systems in partnership with Aramark Sports + Entertainment, its food and beverage partner.

Customers can use three Caper Counters for contact-free checkout experiences at select areas around the stadium. Instacart purchased Caper AI in October 2021.

Caper Counter leverages AI functionality, including computer vision and sensor fusion technology, to visually detect and identify items based on their shape, color, key features, and sizes. Customers can place packaged food and beverage items, such as peanuts, soda, beer and candy, for purchase on Caper Counter, where they will be automatically detected and added to the cart for checkout.

Customers then select “pay” and choose from either a credit card, loaded ticket or team rewards as their method of payment, and can then take their food and beverages, completing a seamless, autonomous transaction.

Sports arenas remove the friction
Frictionless shopping is becoming an increasingly popular offering at professional sports venues across the country. American Airlines Center, home to both the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team and Dallas Stars NHL hockey team, is collaborating with hospitality company Levy and its design subsidiary DBK Studio to open a new Market To-Go store. The store utilizes an AI-based autonomous retail platform from Standard AI and mobile payment technology from SpotOn to let customers shop and checkout with a mobile app.

The San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball team is deploying the Oracle Micros Simphony Cloud POS solution at its home stadium. The Giants intend to leverage the new POS technology to make it easier for customers to order food and beverage options at concession stands or from their mobile devices. In future seasons, Oracle Park will implement self-service customer kiosks and “grab-and-go” frictionless checkout locations.

And Aramark, the exclusive food and beverage provider at Houston’s NRG Stadium, recently opened the venue’s second store featuring Zippin checkout-free technology. Two Ice House Express locations in two different first-level sections of the stadium enable shoppers to tap a credit card to enter a store and then select the items they want.

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.

“We are excited to introduce Caper Counter to baseball fans this season and elevate the concessions experience with a method in which guests can quickly and seamlessly grab their favorite snack and get back to their seats to enjoy the game with their family and friends,” said Alicia Woznicki, VP of design and development at Aramark Sports + Entertainment.

“Nothing compares to the experience of attending a game in person at the stadium, but we know fans increasingly want a more engaging, seamless and contact-free checkout experience. By helping to speed up the checkout experience, fans can spend less time buying their peanuts and beer and more time where they want to – in the stands, cheering on their team,” said Lindon Gao, VP of engineering at Instacart. “On average, Caper Counter decreases transaction times by approximately 65%. We’re excited to continue bridging the gap between in-store and online experiences through our omnichannel solutions, and look forward to expanding our partnership with Aramark Sports + Entertainment in the future.”