After almost a year of testing, Zippin has started the official opening of its San Francisco retail store. Patterned after pioneer Amazon Go, Zippin uses cameras and sensors to enable grab-and-go, C-Store style shopping for busy consumers. Other contenders in this growing retail category include Standard Cognition and Grabango. While these checkout counter-free stores are few and far between, the real story is when will a major store chain use this AI technology across a wide network of locations? Our feeling is this will happen in the next year or two, as there are now several developers that can make this a reality.
A The Spoon article discusses more on this topic which is excerpted below.
Zippin one of the host of startups working on cashierless checkout, announced today that it was re-opening its San Francisco retail store. The Zippin store, located at 215 Fremont Street, is akin to Amazon Go both in its bodega-like size and cashierless checkout technology. Zippin is also more like Amazon than other cashierless checkout technologies on the market in the way it uses a combination of both cameras and sensors to keep track of what people purchase.
Zippin opened its retail store in August of last year, but it was more of a working lab that was only open for limited hours. While Zippin operates this retail location, the company, like so many other cashierless startups, is looking to partner with existing retailers to retrofit their stores with checkout free technology.
CEO Krishna Motukuri explained that while his mission is the same as many other startups in the space, his company’s approach is different from the other startups vying to power the cashierless retail market. “Most others only use cameras,” said Motukuri, “We use cameras and sensors to increase accuracy.” Motukuri said that the problem with a camera-only solution is that they can be blocked by people and don’t provide enough accuracy, so Zippin uses weight sensors on shelves to augment what the cameras see.
Zippin is currently working with four major retailers, but wouldn’t disclose who they are. Motukuri said that his technology can scale up to any size store, but there is typically a cost hurdle as the price is proportional to the square footage of the store. As a result, Zippin’s partners are focusing on smaller stores right now.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Service at Mercator Advisory Group