4 Unexpected Shopping Experiences Transformed by Introducing Autonomous Retail

autonomous retail store exterior

Autonomous retail often brings to mind images of standalone concept stores, small convenience stores, and large grocery stores.

A vast majority of businesses (88%) are embracing digital solutions in retail settings. However, the impact of autonomous retail and the technology powering it has changed retail in settings that are given far less attention.

Customer experience management has become ever more important in an increasingly competitive retail landscape, and autonomous retail settings will have to adapt to maintain a competitive advantage and keep up with evolving customer preferences. As 95% of retail business leaders have found, technology can have a wide and positive impact on customer experiences. Read on to find out how computer vision is helping retailers build memorable and positive customer experiences in both conventional and lesser-known autonomous retail settings.

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How Computer Vision Powers Modern Autonomous Retail Experiences

In the move toward modern autonomous settings, there are nondisruptive ways retailers can modernize their existing operations. Some retailers believe that to embrace autonomous retail, they must uproot and replace key elements of their existing stores. In the past, retailers needed to purchase and install expensive equipment such as smart shelves, fittings, and more.

AiFi’s solution was developed during years of over-instrumenting with expensive additional equipment to build and train modern machine learning algorithms designed specifically for retail. The resulting solution allows retailers to use computer vision to add a layer of smarts over their existing stores to enable autonomous shopping experiences.

This computer vision layer works with an array of cameras placed around the store and can deliver new shopping experiences without the need for other expensive gear. This allows retailers to test and adjust their autonomous retail technology to fit their unique needs and wants. Here are some settings where this flexibility and low barrier to entry can benefit retailers and shoppers.

4 Lesser-Known Settings Where Autonomous Retail Is Delivering Memorable Shopping Experiences

1

Temporary Festivals With Undefined Retail Locations

Festivals and temporary events are a popular way for entertainers, politicians, and celebrities to reach their fans and audiences. These events are also a great opportunity for shoppers to purchase event-specific merchandise and apparel. However, some venues don’t have dedicated retail locations for organizers to sell their wares. Scalable autonomous stores provide event organizers with the opportunity to set up pop-up stores that can be easily replaced or removed once the event is over.

AiFi’s NanoStore was deployed at the Live Nation Music Festival in partnership with Verizon, for example. The organizers were able to deliver a convenient, seamless shopping experience where customers could purchase drinks, snacks, and more and return to the event quickly.

2

Large Event Spaces With Fixed Retail Locations

Apart from quick and temporary deployments, autonomous retail can also deliver positive experiences to fans of regular events such as sports games. Stadiums and other facilities with regular events tend to have fixed retail locations for fans to purchase snacks, team merchandise, and more. However, long lines and inconvenient checkout processes can make the shopping experience cumbersome and detract from the experience of watching a live game.

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, each recently set up a fully autonomous store for fans. There, AiFi’s autonomous retail technology allows fans to purchase their items in half the time they previously spent — this new experience reduced the average transaction & queuing time by 50% and increased per cap revenue by 170% (credit: Detroit Lions).

3

Workplaces With Flexible Working Hours

Shoppers engage with brands on a daily basis and their retail experience should change and evolve to serve their unique needs each time. Shoppers that are browsing luxury items on the weekend have different needs from shoppers who need to grab a quick bite during lunch at work. Autonomous retail can help shoppers who are in a rush by automating time-consuming processes such as checkout.

Compass Group recognizes the importance of this convenience for their staff and partnered with AiFi to build a fully autonomous store where employees can purchase food and drinks quickly. The store works in conjunction with the Time2Eat application and allows employees to breeze through their shopping experience, giving them more time for themselves during their breaks.

4

Transport Hubs With High Foot Traffic but Limited Retail Space

Transport hubs experience extremely high foot traffic regardless of time. These hubs have to serve customers arriving at odd hours of the day and night. However, it can be difficult to gauge changing demand levels and staff stores consistently. Autonomous retail can help retailers meet these challenges and deliver superior shopping experiences to travelers.

An example of autonomous retail serving travelers at all times is the Albert Heijn store at Schiphol Airport, where simplicity and a seamless experience reduced the amount of stress for everyone. Shoppers simply tapped their debit or credit card at the entrance as they entered and cameras around the store recognized what they chose to purchase as they walked out.

How Autonomous Retail Creates Positive Customer Experiences Across Settings and Retail Channels

With AiFi’s platform, retailers can deploy a camera-only solution that can be added to any retail setting, regardless of size and location. A camera-only solution is also highly scalable and can be expanded or reduced with minimal fuss. The lack of expensive specialized hardware needed to empower such autonomous retail settings makes these experiences accessible for retailers with any budget. Temporary and permanent retail settings can both benefit from the operational optimization that such technology can offer by delivering convenience and efficiency to all customers.

Learn more about how computer vision is changing the shopping experience for customers all over the world, on our Customers page. If you found this article interesting, please share it on social media.

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