DayBreaker

Tech start-up opens ‘concept’ store to showcase its checkout-free technology

BY Marianne Wilson

A start-up company whose founders include an ex-Amazon executive has opened the first cashier-less store in the city of San Francisco.

The company, Zippin, opened the store to demonstrate its checkout-free software platform which is designed to enable retailers to quickly deploy frictionless, in-store shopping that enables shoppers to check out without cashiers or self-scanners. Located in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, the space showcases Zippin’s automated shopping technology in a real-life retail environment.

The Zippin concept store, which is currently open only through private invitation, sells a sells a variety of healthy snacks, prepared packaged lunch items and drinks. It will be open to the public beginning in mid-September. A spokesperson for Zippin told Chain Store Age that it is being operated as a “proof of concept” store to showcase for other prospective retailers and property owners how the Zippin technology works. Zippin is not aiming to be or become a retailer itself.

Zippin’s ecosystem — which integrates its proprietary software with readily available hardware — uses a combination of overhead cameras and smart shelf sensors for what it called “the highest level of accuracy.”

Here’s how it works: Consumers download the Zippin app and connect their preferred payment method. The app contains their store “key” or QR code which can be scanned to gain entry to a shop. Overhead cameras follow customers’ movements as they move around the store — without using face recognition. Cameras and smart shelf sensors track when and which products are picked up or put back. Combining these two inputs allows Zippin to place the right items in the right shoppers’ virtual carts. On leaving the store, customers receive a receipt detailing their charges.

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