News • 18.12.2023

The global state of autonomous stores

The stores are located in various retail segments such as food retail, fashion, electronics, convenience stores and fast food.

Entrance to an autonomous store
Autonome Stores wie z. B. Żabka in Polen befinden sich im Aufschwung.
Source: Żabka Polska

In a highly competitive global retail landscape, autonomous stores are an emerging force that addresses changing consumer behaviors, reduces operational costs, improves profitability, and powers revenue growth strategies.

Advancements in autonomous store capabilities have matured into scalable, profitable, customer-centric models that allow customers to have a fully independent shopping journey. Autonomous store rollouts require a strategic crawl, walk, and run approach that leverages various innovative technologies and an integrated roadmap focusing on growth.

Autonomous stores extend to different segments in retail, including grocery, fashion, electronics, convenience stores, and QSRs. The connected consumer seamlessly navigates across digital, physical, and social platforms, migrating from discovery to transactional experiences within seconds. According to Business Insider Intelligence, the number of global stores with autonomous capabilities rose from only 350 in 2018 to a forecasted 10,000 stores in 2024, with a sales transaction volume of under $70 million to over $20 billion.

The evolving autonomous store Technology, Concepts, and Capabilities

Retailers have attempted to solve the friction-filled checkout experiences for decades. The new business models supported by autonomous capabilities provide a compelling value proposition for consumers. It significantly reduces operational and labor costs for retailers, with increased access to consumer data and in-store shopping behaviors. Autonomous stores drive efficiencies, enable personalized experiences, minimize theft, empower dynamic pricing, and provide seamless integration with omnichannel strategies, including:

  • Automated Checkout: Leverages advanced computer vision
  • AI – Provides personalized product suggestions
  • RFID & Smart Shelf IoT Sensors: Tracks product inventory and movement
  • Real-Time Inventory Management: Monitors product levels with seamless integration with order management systems
  • Mobile Apps, QR Codes, and Digital Interfaces: Provides access to store layouts and personalized offers

Global autonomous store success stories

Żabka – The largest operator of autonomous stores in Europe 

Polish convenience store chain Żabka is planning to become the biggest operator of autonomous stores globally and overtake Amazon Go. With 7,272 outlets in 950 towns and cities serving almost three million customers daily, they are quickly becoming the largest convenience chain in Poland and across all of Central and Eastern Europe. Żabka has accomplished this by pioneering the use of artificial intelligence and mobile technology capabilities in autonomous stores. [2]

Żabka's competitive advantage is its super convenient experience powered by AI. The shops leverage AI technology developed in collaboration with US firm AiFi and utilize the Microsoft Azure platform. This is how the purchasing process works:

  • Customers can only enter the stores once they have inserted their credit card or scanned the QR code on the Żabka app
  • Once inside, customers can take whichever products they want from the shelves and then leave
  • Camera systems recognize the products taken, and the amount is then automatically charged to their card

Hong Kong International Airport

The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) opened its first autonomous convenience store called "travelwell".[3] Leveraging AI and computer vision technologies, HKIA developed innovative ways to streamline shopping. In partnership with Lagardère Travel Retail Asia, HKIA is reinventing the airport shopping experience and becoming a pioneer in the travel retail industry with this critical milestone.

The beauty of the HKIA travel shopping experience is its simplicity:

  • Customers tap their credit card at the entrance to access the store
  • IoT sensing technology tracks their movement and shopping behaviors, automatically detecting chosen items
  • When customers are ready to exit, the sensor identifies purchased items and charges their credit cards

Self-Service Fanshop at Eintracht Fankfurt

Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt opened a self-service fan shop in 2022 to complement their regular shops. At Deutsche Bank Park, fans can buy their products in just a few seconds, simply by walking by[4]. At the heart of the new store concept is “payfree Grab & Go” technology powered by RFID capabilities. It speeds up the checkout process, significantly increases traffic, and offers fans a seamless shopping experience.

The first Grab & Go checkout without camera tracking and smart shelves:

  • Bag Fast Track capabilities include a small scanning unit for automatic product registration
  • RFID tags identify the items in the bag
  • A display shows the customer an overview of the shopping basket and instructions on how to proceed
  • Payment is made contactless at a terminal, whether with a physical card or via a smartphone

Snackin – A 100% autonomous micromarketSnackin is a collection of autonomous stores based in Brazil, powered by their scan-and-go technology. With about 100 stores, they provide snacks to condos across Brazil.  In August 2023, the supermarket Rede Smart launched Smart Toda Hora. Smart Toda Hora is open 24/7 and is powered by Snackin's technology. Customers unlock the door with the app, receive a personalized greeting voice message thanks to an integration with OpenAI, and scan and pay for the products using just their phone. 

According to Snackin's Co-Founder and CEO Reslley Gabriel, personalized experiences make their autonomous stores unique. "The virtual voice assistant identifies whoever enters the store and welcomes them as if they were an attendant. Call their names and say good morning, afternoon, or night. It will also say happy birthday if it's the day. Additionally, it will talk about the store's main promotions, considering the person's purchasing history and the products they like most."

The future is bright for autonomous stores

With AI, RFID, and sensor solutions driving the change, autonomous stores' technological capabilities are rapidly transforming the customer experience. Between the efficiencies, security, intelligence, and personalized experiences, autonomous stores are a win-win for retailers and customers. As autonomous stores continue to roll out beyond the European, South American, and Asian markets, businesses must account for the consumer adoption curve as retailers redefine their operating models for the Western markets. The sky is the limit for autonomous stores.

EuroCIS 2024 offers a good opportunity to get an up-to-date overview of the range of retail-relevant AI and checkout offerings for autonomous stores. The leading trade fair for retail technology will take place in Halls 9 and 10 of the Düsseldorf exhibition grounds and is open to trade visitors from Tuesday, 27 February to Thursday, 29 February 2024, daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Source: EuroCIS, The Leading Trade Fair for Retail Technology

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: SES-imagotag becomes VusionGroup
29.01.2024   #software applications #artificial intelligence

SES-imagotag becomes VusionGroup

A new identity highlighting the broader portfolio of innovative solutions
developed by the Group to solve the major challenges of physical commerce

SES-imagotag (Euronext: SESL, FR0010282822), the global leader in digital solutions for physical commerce, today announced that it has changed its name to VusionGroup. This new name embodies the various product lines and solutions that have enhanced ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The SALTO WECOSYSTEM: A new brand DNA for the future of advanced access...
13.02.2024   #Tech in Retail #access control

The SALTO WECOSYSTEM: A new brand DNA for the future of advanced access

The SALTO WECOSYSTEM embodies the commitment to innovation of each SALTO company and demonstrates ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Trigo and Netto Announce Autonomous Supermarket with Real-Time Receipt...
24.01.2024   #Tech in Retail #artificial intelligence

Trigo and Netto Announce Autonomous Supermarket with Real-Time Receipt Capability.

‘Final step’ in frictionless shopping drives trust by enabling consumers to view their receipts BEFORE leaving the store
Full size 800m2 grocery supermarket powered by computer vision AI is Europe’s largest retrofitted frictionless store

Trigo, a leading provider of AI computer vision technology that transforms traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets into digital smart stores, and discount supermarket chain Netto Marken-Discount (also known as Netto), have partnered to launch ...

Thumbnail-Photo: EuroCIS Germany next stop for ITL’s cash handling and age verification...
13.02.2024   #Tech in Retail #artificial intelligence

EuroCIS Germany next stop for ITL’s cash handling and age verification solutions

Innovative Technology Ltd (ITL) will be joining retail suppliers and industry professionals at ‘EuroShop 2024 – the leading trade fair for retail technology’ which takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany from ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Record numbers for ITL at EuroCIS retail show in Düsseldorf...
07.03.2024   #self-checkout systems #POS software

Record numbers for ITL at EuroCIS retail show in Düsseldorf

Innovative Technology (ITL) reported a successful EuroCIS in Düsseldorf last week, where the organisers announced record visitor numbers. EuroCIS provides an exclusive hotspot for Retail Technology in Europe, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Hanshow’s ESL Solutions Push Precision and Performance at the National...
04.04.2024   #retail #customer experience

Hanshow’s ESL Solutions Push Precision and Performance at the National Hardware Show

NHS is the premier event where home centers, independent retailers, online retailers, wholesalers, distributors ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Intertraffic Amsterdam exhibits ITL innovations ideal for the transport...
02.04.2024   #artificial intelligence #cash handling systems

Intertraffic Amsterdam exhibits ITL innovations ideal for the transport sector

Innovative Technology Ltd (ITL) are set to demo their cash handling and AI powered biometric products to the parking ...

Thumbnail-Photo: How efficient is your workforce management?
24.04.2024   #workforce deployment #workforce management

How efficient is your workforce management?

Workforce management software in retail is successful when it optimizes processes, increases employee satisfaction, and improves ...

Thumbnail-Photo: New digital customer experience on the sales floor...
29.04.2024   #digital signage #data warehouse management

New digital customer experience on the sales floor

Connecting stationary retail through omnichannel digital signage

The dynamics of digital change and the fast pace of customer expectations are increasing ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Wayfair Announces Decorify App for Apple Vision Pro...
15.02.2024   #Tech in Retail #virtual reality

Wayfair Announces Decorify App for Apple Vision Pro

Wayfair's virtual room styler and 3D imaging tools enable Apple Vision Pro users to reimagine their living spaces and experience the future of shopping in their home

With the Wayfair Decorify app on Apple Vision Pro, users have a variety of options to see their spaces redesigned. They can upload a photo of their space ...

Supplier

Zebra Technologies Germany GmbH
Zebra Technologies Germany GmbH
Ernst-Dietrich-Platz 2
40882 Ratingen
VusionGroup SA
VusionGroup SA
55 place Nelson Mandela
90000 Nanterre
SALTO Systems GmbH
SALTO Systems GmbH
Schwelmer Str. 245
42389 Wuppertal
Innovative Technology Ltd.
Innovative Technology Ltd.
Innovative Business Park
OL1 4EQ Oldham
REMIRA Group GmbH
REMIRA Group GmbH
Phoenixplatz 2
44263 Dortmund