Żabka look set to introduce its first checkout-free stores in a matter of months – allowing them to completely bypass the government’s trading bans.
Reports in many Polish media outlets state that Żabka are introducing the new technology thanks to a deal they have signed with the American-based AiFi startup.
According to the description of the system on AiFa’s press kit and website, the shopping experience in Żabka would be similar to that seen in Amazon’s Amazon Go stores.
Shoppers would set up an account on their phone and link it to their bank card, then scan a code from the special app to enter the shop. The special cameras would work out what these consumers have chosen (or picked up and put back on the shelf) and bill them accordingly as they leave the store.
AiFi , a computer vision technology company, is introducing the first scalable checkout-free solution for stores from small mom and pop convenience shops to major mega retailers of tens of thousands of square feet. Using its innovative AI technology, sensor and camera networks and seamless system integration, AiFi is empowering all stores so they can move toward a checkout-free future and remain competitive while significantly improving the shopping experience for consumers. AiFi is already working with one of the world’s largest retailers to create its checkout-free solution on a massive scale.
Once open, the new stores will be the first of their kind in Europe according to Tomasz Blicharski, the vice-president of Żabka’s finance and development department.
The new technology will naturally fuel fears of job cuts. However Żabka are keen to stress that there is no plan to reduce their labour force. That said, employment decisions will ultimately be down to the franchise managers running the stores.
The convenience store chain will of course still need staff to assist with the hot food and drink section of its business. Żabka say the zero checkout solution will allow their staff to focus on this area instead of having to jump between serving food and scanning people’s shopping.