Earlier this summer we heard rumblings that UK-based grocer Tesco was working with Trigo on cashierless checkout stores. Those rumblings have now been confirmed: Trigo informed The Spoon this morning that the two companies have announced a partnership that also includes an equity investment by Tesco in Trigo.
The exact amount Tesco invested was not disclosed, but it follows a recent $22 million Series A round raised by Trigo last month. Trigo’s total amount of publicly disclosed funding is $29 million.
Trigo retrofits stores with cameras, computer vision and AI software to create cashierless checkout retail experiences. Consumers enter a store, grab what they want and leave with the payment automatically processed.
This is the second retail partnership for Trigo, following one with Israel-based supermarket chain Shufersal last year. According to a Trigo company spokesperson, the startup has been working with Tesco for more than a year.
Details of the partnership were scarce, but the fact that Tesco publicly name-checked Trigo is another example of how cashierless grocery checkout is maturing. Retailers are no longer privately testing out these systems, but instead making announcements about them. Giant Eagle is working with Grabango and Brazil’s Lojas Americanas has partnered with Zippin. Worth noting as well is that both Trigo and Zippin have received strategic investments from retail partners, a sign that Lojas Americanas and Tesco are serious about implementing, or at least more deeply exploring, cashierless checkout.
Today’s news also comes during the same week that we learned Amazon is going ahead with leases for its own grocery store chains. The e-commerce giant reportedly has plans to open dozens of grocery store locations in addition to its existing Whole Foods stores. What we don’t know yet is whether Amazon will be using the same cashierless checkout technology it uses in its Amazon Go stores at these new grocery outlets.
With 6,800 locations, Tesco represents a potentially big outlet (and payday) for Trigo. Today’s partnership does, however, come one day after Tesco’s CEO abruptly left the company. Will the new CEO feel the same way about cashierless checkout? Momentum for this friction-free shopping seems to be gaining, so the trick now will be to see how consumers — and retailers — take to the idea.