Zippin has launched a checkout-free software platform and opened a concept store in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood to showcase the automated shopping technology in a real-life retail environment. The shop will be open to the public for limited hours during the week beginning in mid-September and through private invitation.
To use the shop, 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.
Zippin's patent-pending approach uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and visual cognition technology to banish checkout lines and self-scanners, and letting shoppers "zip" in and out with their purchases. The platform is available for retailers wanting to offer autonomous, checkout-free shopping.
While early approaches to autonomous shopping have relied solely on cameras to track purchases, Zippin's ecosystem—which integrates its proprietary software with readily available hardware—uses a combination of overhead cameras and smart shelf sensors for accuracy.
"Consumer frustration with checkout lines is driving a tidal wave of demand among retailers and real estate owners keen to provide a frictionless retail experience," said Zippin CEO, Krishna Motukuri. "With annual sales of grocery stores, convenience stores and quick-serve restaurants totaling nearly $1.6 trillion in the U.S. alone, we believe there is a sizeable market opportunity for us to pursue. Despite the popularity of shopping online, brick and mortar retail still accounts for more than 90 percent of all purchases made in the U.S. With Zippin, traditional retailers can now compete against e-commerce companies, which until now have had the advantage of leveraging a host of key data about their customers."