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The New AI-Driven Store Makes You Look Like a Shoplifter

Mehreen Siddiqua Jan 02, 2018

Can you imagine shoplifting in a store with cameras in place and walking out of it without incidence? That is now a possibility. It’s time we say goodbye to checkout counters! After this AI-driven store makes it into mainstream, stores will have an opportunity to eventually phase out checkout counters.

By 2017, we have experienced e-store shopping where delivery time remains to be the biggest factor that needs optimization. But its not just online shopping experience that is getting faster but also the brick and mortar outlets that are optimizing for speed-loving, and tech-driven consumers. In our time, the difference between the real and virtual world is getting slim. While the online shopping experience is getting real, the real-world shopping experience is getting virtualized all thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

The Autonomous Checkout system

We all know how long waiting checkout queues make grocery shopping the most tedious task. But we will not have to wait long for retail stores to adapt to the AI-driven autonomous checkout. Amazon Go is already on its way to launch a new kind of grocery store where no checkout is required. They’re calling it the “Just Walk out” shopping experience for which you need their app on your phone, pick items from their store while the system upgrades its inventory and your virtual cart. A similar prototype is being tested by Standard Cognition that employs a network of cameras to monitor the action of the shopper and then couple machine vision and deep learning to display the items in your virtual cart on your smartphone app (underway).

In order to fit the definition of a “convenience store”, the retail biggies are under pressure to create a better shopping experience and autonomous checkout is their ray of hope. The idea appears promising but is not yet free of glitches.

What’s a virtual cart?

The virtual cart happens to be the software interface for the retail stores planning to limit or recede checkout counters. When you pick up items from a similar store, the sensors recognize the items and add them to your cart against which you will be charged from your account as you walk out of the door. To get a better picture of virtual cart, here’s a glimpse of Amazon Go.

While Amazon Go allows the shopper to scan and enter the store before they begin to shop, the Walmart Scan and Go uses a different approach. At Walmart its more of a self-checkout option where you can scan your items right from your phone and pay via the app.

Fascinating isn’t it!

But so far you will need an employee to verify the receipt on your mobile device. It will take some time before the idea of autonomous checkout gets fully operational. Meanwhile, the futuristic application of AI in retail is rigorously tested. Here are some big questions that caught our attention.

Big questions

Since the AI feature uses cameras, can it keep up with multiple items withdrawn from the aisle when the surrounding space is heavily crowded?

What happens when someone picks an item but places it back at a different position?

Can the system identify damage to the products while mishandling?

Is it really convenience shopping if we need different apps for each store?

So, what do you guys think? Are you excited about the idea of AI backed retail stores? Let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.

Mehreen Siddiqua

She is a millennial with a sense of humor that she embodies in visuals. A Digital Marketer focusing on Social Media Marketing by profession, exploring diverse avenues and ventures in tech while honing entrepreneurial skills. Currently she is the communications coordinator and strategist for Arpatech looking into e-commerce, consumer behavior and digital business models.