When we talk about Amazon Go-like cashierless stores, the conversation mostly focuses on the shopping experience from the customer’s perspective. The ease with which you can walk into a store, grab what you want — and just walk out. But as Israeli-based startup Trigo Vision points out, there are plenty of benefits for the retailer as well.
Trigo Vision (pronounced tree-go vision) is one of several companies using computer vision and AI to help retail stores re-create the Amazon Go cashierless experience. Trigo Vision works by installing cameras in the ceilings of stores, and the AI is trained by having people (customers or employees, if need be) pick up and handle each item off the shelf in the store so the computer can “see” and learn what it is.
Jenya Beilin, COO of Trigo Vision, told me that using this approach for data collection is better than using synthetic data or existing images of products, because it trains the AI to recognize items under all the existing lighting and background conditions in that store. The result, according to Beilin, is that the technology is able to track purchases with greater accuracy.
The most obvious beneficiary of this computer recognition is the consumer. Trigo Vision’s system sees what you are putting in your cart (and putting back), tallies up your total and automatically charges you on the way out the door.
The same cameras that make it easy to leave also make it easy to track shoppers through the store. The result is that Trigo Vision’s system can provide retailers with useful information on consumer behavior: Where do they buy first? What items are they picking (and returning)? What items are purchased together? Etc.
One obvious benefit of Trigo Vision’s system is inventory management. Sorry, shelf-bot, but your days of manually scanning the aisles looking for gaps in inventory are probably numbered. Trigo’s platform can keep track of how many items are bought and when something needs to be re-stocked.
Digging into the consumer data a little deeper, stores can use the platform to understand how they can better present items to customers. Trigo Vision can help a store realize (in real-time) if a particular product is popular and should be highlighted, or if an end-cap promotion is attracting attention and/or sales.
This type of data is, in turn, helpful for CPG companies. For example, Coca-Cola could gain insight into whether people are buying more sodas in the aisle or at the checkout line. Armed with this data, grocers can even re-architect their shelves and store layout to take advantage of how people are shopping and the order in which they see inventory.
Unlike the bodega-sized Amazon Go stores, Trigo Vision says its platform can scale up to full-sized stores. Right now, the company, which has raised $7 million in funding, is in one pilot program with an unnamed European store. Beilin says they are in talks with more retailers, with the goal of opening in a full store in Europe within twelve months.
Trigo Vision is facing some stiff competition, however. Standard Cognition announced a deal with Paltac Corporation to put its cashierless tech in 3,000 stores in Japan before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. AIPoly also touts its data insights for retailers as well. And in June it was revealed that Microsoft, which is no slouch when it comes to AI, is working on similar technology and is talking to retailers like Walmart about a potential collaboration.
All of this activity means widespread adoption of cashierless technology is not that far off —and will soon be so commonplace that we won’t even be talking about it at all.