Wundermart currently operates 70 unattended “grab-and-go” convenience stores throughout Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. These stores are typically between 50 and 200 sq. ft. and located in hotels, offices and transportation hubs. While the stores themselves are unattended by staff, Wundermart shoppers currently need to manually scan each item and make their payment at a self-checkout kiosk.
Through this new partnership, Wundermart will incorporate AiFi’s camera-based checkout system. As shoppers enter a Wundermart store, they will need to scan the store app or swipe their credit card at a kiosk. Once inside, AiFi’s camera+computer vision system will automatically keep track of what people take and then charge them automatically as they leave the store — no product scanning needed.
In addition to its computer vision checkout, Wundermart will be implementing AiFi’s OASIS system, which uses computer vision and sensors to track products in the store for more automated inventory management.
Wundermart will also be integrating AiFi’s technology into its Wunderware SaaS package. Wunderware is sold to third-party retailers so they can create their own autonomous stores. According to today’s press announcement, Wundermart and Wunderware plan to open more than 1,000 locations equipped with AiFi’s technology.
The COVID pandemic is pushing retailers of all sizes to re-evaluate the number of touchpoints they have in their stores. Cashierless checkout provides a more frictionless shopping experience that reduces the amount of human-to-human interaction. Not only does it remove the cashier as a vector of viral transmission, but early data suggests that shoppers using cashierless systems spend less time in a store, so there are fewer people congregating in checkout lines and aisles.
In addition to more frictionless checkout, Wundermart said it will be using AiFi’s system to also learn how people are shopping inside their stores. While the company’s system doesn’t use facial or biometric data to track someone, it can analyze what items people pick up (and put back) to help a store operator determine how to most efficiently set up products.
Only a couple of months in and 2021 has already been a busy year for cashierless checkout. New Zealand-based IMAGR has launched its smart-cart solution with retailer H20 in Japan. German startup, Nomitri came out of stealth with its smartphone-centric, cashierless checkout. And Zippin launched an unattended convenience store at a hotel in Japan.
For its part, AiFi has said previously that it plans to have deployed 330 new and retrofitted autonomous stores by the end of 2021. With the Wundermart partnership, they are certainly on their way to achieving that goal.