- Cashierless tech company Zippin will power a checkout-free retail store opening inside Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California next month, according to a press release. Guests to the arena — the home venue for the NBA's Sacramento Kings — will be able to buy food and beverages from the store during events.
- The Worcester Red Sox have tapped Standard Cognition to open an autonomous checkout store in its new Polar Park, which is set to open April 2021 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The store will stock snacks, drinks and souvenirs and will be equipped with Standard Cognition’s artificial intelligence and machine vision technology.
- Both stores will allow fans to exit without standing in line or scanning any products to check out. Customers at both locations can use an app to access the stores and checkout, or present a valid credit or debit card to enter and exit.
Convenience stores at sports and entertainment venues present a logical use case for checkout-free stores. People attending events typically want to grab something quickly, whether it’s a souvenir, a beer or a bag of popcorn, and get to their seats quickly. The stores are small and hold a limited assortment, making it easier to track shoppers and their activity.
A post from IGD Retail Analysis noted that given the long lines often associated with stores and concessions at sports stadiums, checkout-free technology could enhance the customer experience. "With stores seeing several trading peaks during events, they also represent a key test for the technology," the firm wrote.
Zippin's technology uses ceiling-mounted cameras and sensors to provide real-time inventory tracking and keep accurate count of the products on every store shelf. Standard Cognition uses similar technology to associate shoppers with the items they choose without using facial recognition or other biometrics, according to a press release.
Zippin and Standard Cognition both operate checkout-free stores in San Francisco boasting experiences similar to Amazon Go. Standard Cognition opened its 1,900-square-foot store last year under the name Standard Market, which has since been renamed Standard Store, and sells food, household and convenience items. Zippin's first store also opened last year under limited hours to test the technology, and relaunched in June with extended retail operations.
The two not only face competition from each other and Amazon Go, but from an array of other checkout-free technologies that are vying for partnerships with food retailers. Trigo Vision is working to bring cashierless technology to supermarkets on the heels of a $22 million round of funding, and is reportedly testing with British retailer Tesco, while Grabango has deployed in two U.S. stores. Smart cart companies like Caper and Veeve, meanwhile, claim to offer a more scalable and cost-effective alternative to computer-vision companies.