Fujitsu and Zippin announced today at a press conference that they are partnering to sell Zippin’s checkout-free technology solution in Japan. The deal makes Fujitsu the exclusive distributor of Zippin’s services in Japan, and the partnership could include expanded geographies at a later date.
Zippin’s technology uses a combination of shelf sensors, cameras, computer vision and artificial intelligence to create a cashierless checkout experience in physical stores. Once in the store, shoppers can grab what they want, walk out and get charged automatically upon exit. According to the press release sent to The Spoon, Fujitsu may add its own multi-biometric authentication layer to the final product it offers.
The Zippin and Fujitsu partnership comes following a pilot program the two completed with the Lawson convenience store chain in Japan earlier this year. That implementation used a palm reader for user authentication. Fujitsu will start offering Zippin’s technology in March of 2021 .
Interest in cashierless checkout has been accelerating this year as retailers look for ways to minimize human-to-human interaction during the ongoing global pandemic. On its face, cashierless checkout removes the need for shoppers to interact with a human cashier, reducing the amount of labor needed for a store. But the technology can also mean shoppers themselves spend less time inside the store. This means fewer people in the store at any given time.
Fujitsu is the latest giant company to get into the cashierless checkout game. The venture capital arm of chip giant Qualcomm recently invested in AiFi, which makes self-contained cashierless nanostores. And Mastercard has partnered with Accel Robotics to offer cashierless checkout services for customers like Circle K.
We put Zippin on our Food Tech 25 list earlier this year because it was doing interesting implementations including partial cashierless checkout for larger grocery stores. But over the course of the year, Zippin is proving it belongs on our list also because of its international ambitions. The company has a strategic investment from Brazil’s Lojas Americanos that includes deployments at the Ame Go convenience stores. The partial implementation mentioned earlier was at a Russian grocery market in Moscow.