The growing eminence of automated stores is setting the bar high for efficient and cost-effective retail, and relegating staff to scanning products and processing payment is an inefficient use of valuable resources. But does automation benefit all parties.
New York, NY /PRNewswire/ - Cloudpick, the leading provider of AI-based smart store solutions to the worldwide retail industry, in partnership with the leading French multinational retailer Auchan, on October 8th announced the official launch of Auchan's first autonomous convenience store in Lille, France.
With more than 200 autonomous stores using their autonomous store technology worldwide, Cloudpick's intelligent store system means that a registered customer simply collects the items from the shelves and walks out… the intelligent store completes the transaction in the background. Harried commuters could just hustle out the door with a sandwich and a morning coffee.
In September, the company also opened a Catch & Go convenience store in the NTT DATA office in Tokyo, Japan, serving customers with the speed and convenience demanded by high-performing professionals who are now getting used to not facing queues of customers scanning, paying for, and packing their purchases during the morning peak hours.
The growing list of stores that use and benefit from Cloudpick's technology reflects how its technology has helped retailers better understand their customers. Auchan Go in France and Catch & Go in Japan, joins Ahold Delhaize's Lunchbox in Boston, the US, in a growing number of worldwide retailers to realise this vision of the future of retail.
Besides the fact that the convenience means that more customers can be served more efficiently with no bottlenecks at a checkout counter, the inherent robust analytics of an autonomous store improves store management dynamically.
Autonomous stores outperform traditional stores by default, but with the intelligent vision of the store cameras, the autonomous store's 99.5% accuracy rate in tracking shopper activity and purchases is at the very top of the autonomous retail industry.
Tangible benefits to retailers are even more evident in the improvement of stock control and customer management. With the near-flawless stock control of an automated store, retailers increase replenishment efficiency, improve accuracy, and cultivate a highly skilled workforce.
Automatic customer shopping habits data also provides the manager with a detailed real-time report of the turnover of individual products to understand physical shopping habits in the store and to fine-tune placement and product selection accordingly.
More significant, though, is the way the automated store relates to the greatest asset to any retailer, the customer. A concise and celebrated quote about retail by the Founder of K. Barchetti Shops says, "Make a customer, not a sale." And the technology ensures that the retailer does exactly that with 100% membership of customers. Membership is a prerequisite for automated payment and not an inconvenient auxiliary function.
Auchan and Cloudpick places a high premium on sensitive identity information, and have worked in close collaboration with CNIL in France to ensure compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements. Computer vision doesn't collect images or biometrics but only analyses movement through the store and records the items collected to link the customer to their account.
However, this knowledge alone proves invaluable as the retailer knows its customer better and can efficiently and economically help him make informed choices without costly marketing campaigns. The app can even send personalized coupons and promotional codes for discounts and combo sales based on their shopping habits, encouraging customer loyalty.
In the past, new implementations of intelligent technology have been criticized for replacing a human workforce. But a more convincing argument can be made that modern technology elevates human endeavour, and that personnel can be better employed in more valuable capacities. Cloudpick envisions that autonomous stores will be accepted as instinctively by modern thought as the fact that modern elevators don't need a human 'elevator operator' or 'liftman' to be operated effectively.
Serving people better is at the core of our business, this includes the customer, the retailer, and of course the client facing staff, no longer limited to menial scanning and handling payment, but upskilled to improve customer satisfaction.