Upstart company promises checkout-free store ‘orders of magnitude’ bigger than Amazon Go

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Upstart company promises checkout-free store ‘orders of magnitude’ bigger than Amazon Go

By David Salazar - 02/27/2018
Amazon might want to be on its guard. Just weeks after opening its cashier-less Amazon Go store to the public, the company already has potential competition in convenience innovation.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based AiFi, a self-described “computer vision technology company,” said Tuesday it has created a scalable checkout-free solution for stores of any size. AiFi has teased a pending rollout with a major retailer on a scale CEO Steve Gu said would be “orders of magnitude bigger than the Amazon Go store.”

“Consumers and businesses alike want to be efficient and with a checkout-free store, consumers have an incredible shopping experience,” Gu said. “The shopping experience now demonstrated and widely promoted by Amazon is just the tiniest taste of what the AiFi technology will do for retailers — with shops that range from tiny to huge.”

AiFi’s concept uses artificial intelligence, sensor and camera networks and an integrated system to make a checkout-free experience possible for any retailer, the company said. AiFi said that its solution combines AI algorithms that can track people in real-time and recognize actions and products with a camera technology that it said can adapt to a large store or a small corner store. Systems in AiFi’s solution continuously track shoppers in-store, recognizing them as they make their way through the aisles — even recognizing people shopping together as a group. As with Amazon Go, with AiFi’s technology, shoppers can walk out the store and be charged for what they pick up without standing in a checkout line.

According to Gu, Americans spent roughly 37 billion hours in line last year, during which more than 90% of retail sales came from physical stores. The new focus for retailers is convenience for shoppers and increased inventory management capabilities for retailers. AiFI’s technology can recognize tens of thousands of SKU item numbers based on AI, the company said, noting that once installed with no major retrofitting, it offers retailers inventory management data and insights into shopping behavior and preferences.

Once it rolls out at the end of the year, AiFi will highlight that a retailer doesn’t need to have Amazon’s scale to deliver on convenience, Gu said.

“Because our technology is massively scalable, tens of thousands of stores worldwide can become a ‘grab-and-go’ type of retailer,” he said. “Our solution helps stores run more efficiently and provides customers with a better shopping experience. Run in, grab what you need and continue on with your day. Easier for shoppers and more insights and real-time statistics for stores so they can better serve their customers and manage overall operations.”

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