Zippin, an AI-driven software platform designed to provide an autonomous checkout-free experience for shoppers, has opened a concept store in San Francisco showcasing the technology. The company currently offers access to the store through private invitation; and the shop will be open to the public for limited hours during the week beginning in mid-September.
The store, located in the SOMA district of San Francisco, offers a range of lunch items, snacks and drinks, and will expand to approximately 500 square feet in the coming months.
Before entering the store, consumers download the Zippin mobile 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 facial recognition technology. The cameras and smart shelf sensors track when and which products are picked up or put back. Machine learning-trained algorithms analyze the camera feed to recognize the appearance of each product the store carries.
Additionally, each store shelf and refrigerator inside the small store is equipped with scales to detect when items are picked up.
Combining these 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 via email.
With the store, Zippin beats Amazon to become the first company to establish a cashierless location in San Francisco. The Seattle-based giant does have plans to build an Amazon Go location in the city.
Amazon Go’s visibility over the past few years has led to the rise of numerous companies developing similar cashierless in-store systems, such as AiFi, Aipoly, Inokyo, Standard Cognition and Trigo Vision. Luckily for these competitors, Amazon Go still operates only in its initial Seattle location, meaning each company in the “checkout-free” space is likely going to have the opportunity to work with more retailers and hone their technology offerings even further.
While Zippin has so far secured $3 million in seed investment from Maven Ventures and Core Ventures Group, the company has not revealed whether it has partnered with any retailers.