- Computer vision startup Standard AI has rolled out its frictionless shopping system to customers at the first of several Circle K convenience stores in Arizona, according to a Wednesday press release.
- Standard retrofitted the store in Tempe, Arizona, with the computer vision-based equipment as part of a partnership announced last year.
- The announcement comes as Standard steps up its efforts to demonstrate the utility of its technology to potential retail clients and make it faster to install.
The Circle K store now allowing shoppers to walk out with their purchases without needing to check out is smaller than traditional c-stores yet carries the same assortment of products, making it the most challenging shopping environment where Standard has so far installed its autonomous shopping technology, Standard CEO and co-founder Jordan Fisher said.
That higher density poses a test for the ceiling mounted cameras Standard uses to anonymously track customers and record items as people remove them from store shelves, making the deployment an important milestone for the company as it refines the technology, Fisher said.
The rollout follows several months of testing that took place while the store operated normally. In addition, the store allowed selected customers to try the system over the past few weeks as it prepared to make it available to all shoppers, according to Fisher. The store will continue to allow customers to pay at a conventional checkout station, he said.
Fisher added that Standard is focusing on reducing the amount of time it takes to install its technology as it looks to attract other retailers.
"The goal for the tech in general is to scale it as quickly as possible. The game for us is speed and scale and showing that we can do this on a much quicker cadence," Fisher said. "It shouldn't take a year to launch a store. It should take maybe a couple months, and then a couple of weeks, and then a couple of days."
Standard's competitors include startups like Grabango, Trigo and Zippin, which, like Standard, have drawn significant interest during the pandemic from investors hoping frictionless shopping technology will take off. Computer vision company AiFi recently retrofitted two Loop Neighborhood convenience stores in San Francisco with its frictionless checkout technology.
Earlier this year, Standard brought in $150 million in a Series C funding round that valued it at $1 billion.
Standard is also competing with Amazon, which uses its Just Walk Out technology to its small format Go stores and some Fresh supermarkets. Amazon also recently announced that two Whole Foods stores set to open in 2022 would also feature the technology.