AiFi, a technology company developing the most advanced store automation systems in the world, and Żabka, a chain of convenience stores operating more than 5,400 sales points throughout Poland, have announced at the NRF conference – the biggest retail trade fair taking place in New York – that together they will implement stores using unique artificial intelligence and sensor fusion technology that combines information from sensors registering different types of data such as weight and image.
The goal of this co-operation is to create convenience stores which enable checkout-free shopping. In the coming months, Żabka and AiFi will develop a prototype store that will be open to customers. With the knowledge and experience gained through this process, the technology will be implemented on a wider scale. Moreover, Żabka is planning to expand the format of the modular store, which to date has only been located seasonally (for example, at seaside resorts). AiFi will deliver its NanoStore technology to these new stores, enabling checkout-free, fully-automated stores open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
By implementing AiFi technology, Żabka is launching the next stage of its large-scale digital transformation. The planned technological solutions are designed to support franchisees in the development of the stores they run. Additionally, the employee working time saved through technology will help improve customer service quality, especially in the Żabka Café mini catering service, which offers freshly ground coffee or hot snacks like hot dogs. With the new technology, stores will be better equipped to inform customers about new services and functionalities.
In the last year, Żabka has introduced a number of solutions to optimize the way the chain works, as well as to improve customer service. The chain focuses on small format stores, between 60-70sq m, so a major issue at this stage is to introduce technologies that allow more customers to be served with shorter transaction times, and to offer an ever-growing number of services in limited space and employee availability. AiFi technology meets this need perfectly.
AiFi creates automated solutions for retailers wanting to implement advanced innovations, from very small stores to large-area stores with more than 50,000 square feet/4645 square meters. Żabka will receive newly-designed AiFi solutions that will enhance existing stores with new purchasing and checkout-free paths for customers, while also retaining traditional salesperson service. These stores will utilize AiFi artificial intelligence, combining information from sensors and cameras to enable no-checkout shopping. This AI technology uses algorithms to analyze data in real time, identifying customers’ different actions and products.
The technology also enables a wide range of applications to further facilitate the work of franchisees and salespeople. With real-time analytics, franchisees and salespeople will immediately be notified of the need to stock shelves, understand sales levels, identify those products which sell best, and receive recommendations for subsequent orders.
“We are excited to be the first to offer an entirely new quality in stores on the European market,” commented Tomasz Blicharski, VP for finance and development. “The solutions we create are designed to adapt us to customer expectations by offering them the most advanced, convenient and fastest shopping experience on the market. AiFi technology will enable us to offer customers faster service and optimize the management of traditional stores by franchisees, facilitating their daily operations. Additionally, we are working on developing a format of fully-automated stores, to be deployed in locations with very strong traffic. We can’t wait to let our customers and franchisees share the experience of a new dimension in daily shopping,” added Blicharski.
“Deciding to implement state-of-the-art technologies of the future, Żabka is becoming a leader among companies offering global innovations, which is why we are very excited to have a partner like this,” added Ying Zheng, CTO and co-founder of AiFi. “Żabka’s clients will benefit from automated stores where they will have easy access to what they need.”
The self-service Żabka store concept is a container, delivered almost ready to connect, which can operate without personnel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The same technology will be implemented in both new and modernized stores. The AiFi project is fully compliant with stringent European legal standards to ensure full security and respects customers’ privacy.
Żabka is a leader in the convenience market in Europe, using state-of-the-art global solutions designed in Silicon Valley to simplify the daily lives of millions of customers. Co-operation with AiFi is another step in the innovations recently announced by the company.