Retail

Supermarket Chain Ahold Tests Cashierless Store In MA

Retail Business Services (RBS), the services company of Ahold Delhaize, has announced that it is testing out a new frictionless store technology at its Quincy, MA office.

The technology, which is being piloted under the name “lunchbox,” allows individuals to shop a small-format store in seconds by scanning in, shopping and walking out. While RBS was tasked with application development, technology connectivity and food retail operations expertise, digital transformation solutions company UST Global and its partners provided the artificial intelligence (AI) technology solution and physical infrastructure for the store.

“Lunchbox is an easy, fresh shopping alternative,” said Executive Vice President, IT and Chief Information Officer Paul Scorza for RBS, in a press release. “Once registered, shoppers simply scan in, shop and walk out. It’s that easy. And it offers fresh, healthy options 24/7. You can grab a snack, a salad, fresh fruit or even a carton of milk on your way home.”

“We believed in this concept so much [that] we brought it to our own office,” added Scorza. “Our cafeteria that serves more than 1,000 associates was being remodeled, and we were looking for a quick, cost-effective solution to give associates access to beverages, snacks and fresh items at a variety of hours. We implemented this solution in just six weeks. Today, thousands of shops, with groups of up to 12 in the store at the same time, have been successfully completed.”

The solution utilizes AI running on Intel Core i5 and i7 processor-based systems, as well as the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit, to detect which products are being removed from shelves in the store, while anonymous body skeletal-tracking connects products to the correct shopper. Services such as PayPal, Venmo, Apply Pay and Google Pay are integrated into the wallet to carry out easy payments.

“In the age of eCommerce, there are many opportunities for companies to evolve and better serve shoppers,” said Mahesh Athalye, senior director at UST Global. “Combined with AI/ML technology and purpose-built smartphone applications, solutions like lunchbox will help deliver frictionless experiences for shoppers seeking a quick, touchless experience.”

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