Zippin and AiFi announce new cashier-less cashier store locations
It’s not even Pacific Time as I write this and it’s already been a day filled with cashier-less cashier news. Things started when Amazon announced a new full-size grocery store using its Just Walk Out technology, and this was quickly followed by Zippin and Ai-Fi talk about the newly launched cashier-less cashier stores. All of these moves show that the momentum for cashierless checkout space that started earlier this year appears to be continuing unabated.
Let’s start first with Zippin, who said today that they have opened a new stand-alone store at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, home of the Brooklyn Nets (the news was first reported by Sports Business Journal earlier this month). What makes this store a little different from the ones Zippin has already opened in places like Mile High Stadium and Golden 1 Center is the exclusive partnership with American Express. According to the Zippin blog post, the new store, which will sell an assortment of drinks, snacks and merchandise, is only open to American Express cardholders.
Cashiers without a cashier at sporting events are an attractive concept. The ability to walk into a store, grab what you want, and walk away without queuing means you spend less time out of your seat and more time watching the action. As sporting events are just starting to return, the cashierless checkout also offers a contactless retail experience. Considering all of this, it’s good that AMEX is helping push the technology forward, but it’s a shame that it’s only available to its cardholders. Such exclusivity reinforces digital divides and only offers the convenience of a stand-alone retail business to the haves, while the haves can line up with everyone.
Elsewhere, another cashier startup without a cashier Ai-Fi announced today that it has partnered with Polish convenience store chain Żabka to launch a cashierless checkout in Poznan, Poland. AiFi’s announcement is the opposite of the Amazon spectrum in that the standalone Żabka location will be one of AiFi’s 210 square foot NanoStores. These NanoStores are basically prefabricated shipping containers that can be shipped and set up just about anywhere. Future AiFi-powered abka stand-alone stores will be a combination of modernized NanoStores and Żabka micro-markets.
AiFi has partnered with 15 brands internationally, including Choice Market, Carrefour, Loop Neighborhood and Wundermart. Earlier this year, Wundermart announced plans to launch more than a thousand cashier-less stores using AiFi technology.
While cashierless checkout has not yet entered the mainstream, today’s wave of activity in space further illustrates that a moment like this is not so far away.