AiFi Modernizes Two Other Loop Neighborhood Stores With Cashierless Chekout Technology
Ai-Fi announced today that it is adding its cashierless checkout technology to two Loop Neighborhood stores in California, starting with the San Francisco Bay Area. The deal spans an existing partnership that saw the two companies open a fully self-contained NanoStore gas station in Campbell, Calif., In 2019.
Ai-Fi modernizes stores with cameras to create a computer vision-based cashierless checkout system, allowing customers to come in, take what they want and leave, being billed automatically when they exit. For these new Loop Neighborhood stores, customers will use the AiFi app to scan a QR code when entering or exiting the store so that they can skip the payment line.
Cashierless checkout gained momentum throughout 2021, with a number of startups funded and system installations made public. It has been a particularly busy year for AiFi, which has entered into a partnership with the Dutch convenience store chain Wundermart, which will eventually see the opening of 1,000 stand-alone locations. AiFi also partnered with Verizon to open a 5G-powered pop-up NanoStore during this year’s Indianapolis 500. More recently, the company opened a stand-alone NanoStore with the Polish store chain Żabka.
But AiFi isn’t the only one driving standalone retail forward this year. Zippin has opened a store at Barclay’s Center in New York. Trigo opens checkouts without a cashier with the Rewe grocery chain in Germany. And Amazon opened its first full-size, cashless grocery store in Washington state.
There are several reasons for this accelerated interest in cashierless payment. First the pandemic (which did not go) pushes retailers to reduce the number of human-to-human interactions in their stores. Cashierless checkout not only removes a human cashier from the shopping equation, but also means customers don’t have to queue next to each other. In addition, cashier-less payment can benefit the retailer with more real-time information on on-shelf inventory. Cameras and sensors keep tabs on what people pick up and hand over, so officials can identify shortages more quickly.
The CEO of AiFi recently told me that while there is a lot of news and excitement surrounding the cashierless checkout, mainstream adoption is still a decade away. Which means we’ll be writing about similar store openings for a long time.
AiFi hasn’t revealed exactly where the new cashier-less Loop stores will open, but if you’re in the Bay Area and come across one, be sure to tell us about your experience with it!