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Circle K to build fully automated store in partnership with Standard Cognition

Circle K, a large grocery chain in America, is to build a cashierless store in partnership with Standard Cognition.

Alimentation Couche-Tard, which operates close to 14,500 convenience stores worldwide, including the Circle K chain, has selected Standard Cognition to pilot touchless, autonomous checkout technology for its stores.

Together, the two companies will launch what they claim will be the world’s first convenience store retrofitted with artificial intelligence technology, located in the Phoenix, Arizona area, with other stores to follow.

Customers will be able to simply walk in, take what they like, and walk out, without having to scan anything or wait in line to pay.

This Arizona store will mark the first-ever retrofit of an existing convenience store with autonomous checkout technology, says Standard Cognition.

For Standard Cognition, this means integrating with Circle K’s existing systems and working with their current store layout, fixtures and lighting, as well as their existing inventory management and replenishment processes.

There will be no shelf sensors in the Circle K store; instead, Standard leverages ceiling-mounted cameras as well as proprietary AI and machine vision software to accurately associate each shopper with the items they pick up – without using biometric data.

Creating a “frictionless shopping experience” has been high on Circle K’s list of priorities for some time and retrofitting existing stores with Standard’s technology will enable the retailer to move forward more quickly and in a more cost-efficient fashion.

In this first store, Circle K customers will be able to choose to have a completely autonomous and touchless shopping experience by paying via a smartphone app, or via cash or credit or debit card at a kiosk or by visiting a traditional cashier station.

Magnus Tägtström, head of global digital innovation at Alimentation Couche-Tard, says: “Autonomous checkout is one of our innovation priorities that enable us to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day.

“We thoroughly evaluated the market and realized that working with Standard presented significant benefits since they could integrate with our existing systems and retrofit our existing stores.

“We will not have to relocate merchandise, replace shelves or build an entirely new store to implement autonomous checkout. We are excited to partner with Standard to try this technology in some of our stores worldwide.”

Jordan Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Standard Cognition, says: “We believe convenience stores will be the first major market to quickly adopt autonomous checkout.

“With over 150K convenience stores in the US alone, this is a key market for Standard. Circle K is one of the leading convenience store chains globally, and this partnership is a major validation for our technology to go live with such a power-house retailer.”

Standard Cognition also brings expertise in the intersection of impulse shopping and autonomous checkout. Through its insights, StandardCognition will help Circle K design user experiences that “balance operational efficiency, shopper satisfaction and financial optimization”.

Standard Cognition says it was one of the first startups in the autonomous checkout space, and first to open a cashierless store in San Francisco, and the company is currently working with retailers across the US and the world.

The company has so far raised $86 million in funding from high-profile investors including CRV, Initialized Capital, EQT Ventures and Y Combinator.

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