The opening of Amazon's first cashier-less Go store was an important step in the direction of unstaffed retail, a sector that would be worth 78 billion dollar (70 billion euro) in four years' time according to Juniper Research's prediction. Last year, worldwide cashier-free transactions were 'only' worth 9.8 billion dollar (8.5 billion euro).
"Consumers in the U.S. waste almost 37 billion hours a year standing in line, and a significant portion of that is spent waiting in retail checkout lines", a Zippin press release claims: a frustration that leads ever more retailers and real estate owners to strive for a frictionless shopping experience.
The San Francisco-based start-up wants to be one of the poster boys of the cashier-free revolution, but does not aim to open more new stores by itself. Rather, it wants to sell its software to other retailers.
The San Francisco store, that uses smart shelf sensors to enable its working when the store is busy as well - a problem with which Amazon Go might have more issues. That has not been really tested however, as the current store is only accessible for invitees.
An app gives customers an entrance code (QR), which they can scan to get access to the stores. Inside, overhead cameras follow them around the store (without facial recognition, Zippin assures) and other cameras and smart shelf sensors track which products are taken or put back. Combining these technologies would enable Zippin to correctly fill the customers' shopping basket: