Cashierless checkout startup Zippin announced today that it has entered into a partnership with Lojas Americanas S.A. that includes a strategic investment from the Brazilian retailer as well as exclusive use of Zippin’s technology in its Ame Go convenience store chain.
The first such cashierless Ame Go store has been up and open to the public for the past four months. Up until recently, Trigo Vision had been the only cashierless checkout company to publicly named one of its retail partners in Israel’s Shufersal. In July Grabango announced it was working with the Giant Eagle grocery chain here in the U.S.
Zippin had previously only announced its own cashierless checkout store, which was more of a working lab in San Francisco. Unlike Trigo Vision and Grabango, which rely on cameras, computer vision and artificial intelligence to keep track of what shoppers pick up and eventually purchase, Zippin uses fewer cameras as well as shelf-mounted sensors. According Zippin Founder and CEO Krishna Motukuri, this combination of camera and weight sensing gives his company’s solution greater accuracy than its competitors.
While that claim would undoubtedly be debated amongst his rivals, what Zippin’s technology did deliver was this deal with Lojas Americanas. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, so we don’t know how much Lojas invested in Zippin, but Motukuri told me in a phone interview yesterday that future Ame Go stores powered by Zippin will vary in size between 250 and 3,000 square feet and will be located in high-traffic, mostly urban settings. Customers shopping at these Ame Go stores will use the Ame Digital app to make purchases, similar to the way Amazon Go customers use the Amazon Go app.
Additionally, as part of its deal with Lojas Americanas, Zippin will develop new technologies for Ame Go. While Zippin’s own store and Ame Go have smallish footprints, Motokuri said that Lojas Americanas has larger supermarkets and this deal will allow Zippin to test and scale its technology in bigger formats before going out more widely.
Zippin’s announcement today highlights that even though there is a lot of competition in the cashierless checkout space, there is also a lot of global opportunity. Previously, Motukuri had said that Zippin was working with four “major retailers,” so we expect to hear more announcements from the company soon.