- U.K. grocery chain Tesco has opened a frictionless store in central London using computer vision technology supplied by Israeli artificial intelligence startup Trigo, the British food retailer announced on Tuesday.
- Shoppers will be required to use the automated system to make purchases at the approximately 2,400-square-foot store in the city's High Holborn neighborhood, which is Tesco's first public location equipped with the gear.
- The new Tesco store joins a small but growing number of retail locations around the world designed to handle transactions without requiring customers to visit a checkout counter.
The debut of Tesco's first public frictionless store represents a response by the retailer to Amazon, which has opened six Fresh stores in London this year fitted with the e-commerce giant's Just Walk Out frictionless technology.
The location follows a store the retailer operates for its employees in Welwyn Garden City, near London, that has been testing Trigo's technology since 2019. Tesco — which is an investor in the computer vision developer — indicated it does not have plans for additional frictionless stores at this point, but suggested it is considering future deployments.
"This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond," Kevin Tindall, managing director of Tesco Convenience, said in a statement about the technology, which Tesco is calling GetGo.
The London store's opening follows the announcement earlier this month by German supermarket chain Aldi Nord that it plans to pilot Trigo's technology at a new grocery store in the Dutch city of Utrecht early next year. Trigo also testing its frictionless shopping technology with German food retailer Rewe, which, like Tesco, is an investor in the company.
Trigo is also interested in entering the U.S. market, Michael Gabay, Trigo's co-founder and CEO, said in a recent interview. "This is the next region that we want to penetrate and to work in [because] the U.S. is very hot now," Gabay said.
Trigo is locked in competition with several other computer vision startups as it looks to scale its technology and take on Amazon in the nascent frictionless shopping space.
One of those companies, San Francisco-based Standard AI, announced earlier this month that its technology is now in service at a Circle K convenience store in Tempe, Arizona, adding that the system is slated to be installed at additional Circle K stores in the state. Standard also said in October that it plans to cover the cost of installing its system at an as-yet unidentified convenience store to demonstrate its effectiveness to retailers.
Other companies with frictionless checkout systems include Zippin and Grabango. In September, Grabango announced that Giant Eagle deployed its technology to four more of its convenience stores in Pennsylvania.