A cashierless Loop Neighborhood Store is rolling out this month in the Silicon Valley area, said to be the first autonomous shopping experience in America at a gas station location.
The Loop store is a small “NanoStore” template, powered by Santa Clara, Calif.-based AiFi, who also recently announced an autonomous shopping platform with Ahold Delhaize that is testing in an Albert Heijn store in the Netherlands. The Loop location will be open 24/7, carry 150 SKUs and be located at a Shell gas station in Campbell, Calif.
The items available will be more in line with Loop’s fresh foods and healthy options that the convenience store retailer prides itself on. There are more than 30 Loop Neighborhood Stores throughout Northern California, and they all have salad bars and exclusive, premium fresh foodservice to differentiate themselves against c-stores at gas stations that carry more packaged snacks.
Both Loop and AiFI expect to roll out more autonomous shopping locations.
The Nano store concept is roughly the size of a shipping container, with an all-glass, well-lit storefront that a shopper uses their credit card or smart phone to enter the locked store. Once inside, a shopper can grab and go. Computer vision technology and shelf sensor technology track what is picked up. When leaving, the items are automatically deducted from the credit card assigned to the account.
"The new autonomous Loop Neighborhood store is a wonderful step forward for our store brand,” said Varish Goyal, President of Loop Neighborhood. “We strive to deliver a satisfying, enjoyable and convenient experience to our customers every time they enter one of our stores, and the AiFi Autonomous Store Platform meets the needs and demands of our customers.”
Goyal added that the frictionless shopping experience helps customers get what they need and go. “We're thrilled to be introducing this new approach and working with AiFi to make it happen," he said.
AiFI also announced a larger autonomous shopping location to open up in Shanghai this month that carries 800 SKUs. In that autonomous c-store, shoppers use the WeChat mobile app to manage the payment and enter the location.