IMAGR Weekly: No checkout, No worries

By December 19, 2018News

Back in 1965, computer scientist Gordon Moore observed that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit would double approximately every two years, translating into a doubling of computational power. In 2018, this enormous and ever increasing capacity has resulted in exponential advancements in the field of image recognition. Image recognition is a form of Artificial Intelligence, whereby, via the analysis of millions of images, a neural net is formed. Once trained, this advanced algorithm is capable of recognizing items with human-like accuracy. At IMAGR, we have harnessed these capabilities in an effort to transform the retail experience.

We were frustrated by the lack of progress in physical retail, especially the constant delays caused by understaffed checkouts. This led us to create SMARTCART. SMARTCART utilizes our advanced AI algorithm, to instantly identify products as they are placed in a customer’s basket. Payment is seamless- you simply walk out after you’ve found all your items, and the cost is automatically deducted from your account, (a digital receipt is produced).

Technology can be transformational when it works, like when Apple released the first iPhone back in 2007, or equally infuriating when it doesn’t, as has been the case with self-service checkouts. So far, the retail industry has not witnessed the introduction of a breakthrough product to replace the checkout. Self-service checkouts can be seen as a (frustrating) interim measure, which were mainly installed to reduce checkout staffing costs. As one might expect, this introduces an INCREASED level of friction and complexity from a customer’s perspective, which inevitability degrades their experience.

Self-service checkouts do not, and should not, represent the future of retail. Customers deserve better than to be subjected to the embarrassment and humiliation brought about each time the flashing red light goes off. Such instances create a negative interaction between the customer and security warden, which we believe is completely unacceptable purely from an experiential viewpoint.

For retailers, self-service checkouts have been a failure from a commercial perspective. While they might save a small number of cashiers, they require a large number of supervisors and security wardens to manage. Despite this, according to a study conducted by Voucher Codes Pro, a company that offers coupons to internet shoppers, nearly 20 percent of respondents admitted to having stolen at the self-checkout.

Additionally, research has demonstrated the importance of the experience when it comes to physical retail. If unsatisfied with their experience, customers will often leave without a purchase, and find alternative options. In an industry worth upwards of $10 trillion (USD) per annum, an estimated $3.4 trillion is lost due to unsatisfied customers- SMARTCART will eliminate their biggest frustration.

Upon launch, SMARTCART will become the first offering within a basket formfactor to fully deliver on its promises. This means the only payment related interaction the customer experiences are limited to initial account setup. The process takes only a few minutes, and never needs to be repeated once done. SMARTCART is at least 11 times faster compared to a traditional supermarket checkout, enabling a truly frictionless and enjoyable shopping experience. There is no scanning required whatsoever- every aspect of the experience is easy, simple, and seamless.

The reliability of our AI algorithm is unrivaled, which gives us the confidence to publicly implement SMARTCART technology in supermarkets beginning 2018.

SMARTCART’s goal is different to a self-service checkout. The objective is not to save on staffing expenses, but rather to enhance the customer experience. Because checkouts do not add value to the end user, their removal will allow additional staff to be redeployed to more impactful duties. This should eliminate the frustrations brought about when shoppers are unable to find an item or ask for help.

In 2018, physical retail is all about the experience. This means, from a commercial perspective, it is crucial for retailers to adopt the latest technologies to stay competitive. As industry leaders in the field of AI, we strongly believe in the potential for smart technologies. IMAGR is already in negotiations with globally significant retailers and will soon arrive in a store near you.

Are you ready to shop SMARTER?


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Alternatively, feel free to get in touch if you have any inquiries about IMAGR or SMARTCART.