retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a piece this morning about how “A.I. is turning in-store experiences into equally seamless transactions - no lines or registers, no ‘chip malfunction,’ no wait.”

It goes beyond the checkout-free Amazon Go stores, which are the most celebrated examples of how technology can reshape the shopping experience.

Other examples:

“At less intelligent stores, you might soon be able to grab a cart that lets you checkout and bag items without a wait. That’s the promise of Caper, a smart shopping cart with a barcode scanner and card swiper built in, as well as mounted cameras that use image recognition and a weight sensor in the basket. The goal: to help Caper’s A.I. learn to be scanner-free.”

“Some supermarkets have introduced bionic assistants onto their floors. Tally, the Simbe Robotics-powered bot that recently started roving around Schnuck’s stores in St. Louis, uses computer vision to autonomously inventory shelves and keep popular items like my vanilla creamer stocked. Fellow bot Marty, who alerts humans to spills and other hazards, is making its debut at more than 150 U.S. markets this year.”
KC's View:
These technologies will illustrate the difference between ambitious and progressive retailers, and those that are complacent about their competitive situation. Not that the use of technology will determine who is best and has the most sustainable business model … but what will determine it will be retailers’ willingness and ability to deal with its existence. Maybe you don’t have AI … but you’d better compensate for that with outstanding HI.