Shoprite Group is piloting an AI-powered store with no checkouts

Shoprite Group has created a new digital business unit called Shopritex to use data science to “enhance customer experiences”. One of its first projects is an artificial intelligence-powered store with no checkout counters.

“Incubated over the past year, Shopritex is combining data science and technology to create more personalised shopping experiences for customers,” the JSE-listed retail giant said on Wednesday.

The group said Shopritex, which was responsible for the Xtra Savings rewards programme and the Checkers Sixty60 on-demand shopping app, is now piloting Checkers Rush, an automated, cashless “no queues, no checkout, no waiting” concept store in Brackenfell in Cape Town.

The concept store allows Shoprite employees to “grab products and walk out”. Using camera technology coupled with artificial intelligence software to identify the products being taken off the shelves, Checkers Rush bills users’ bank cards upon exit. It’s not dissimilar to what’s offered by through its Amazon Go retail stores in the US and the UK.

“We are serious about being Africa’s most customer-centric retailer, and the launch of Shopritex represents our investment in fit-for-the-future precision retail, which is increasingly digital and data-led,” said CEO Pieter Engelbrecht in a statement.

‘Precision retailing’

“The launch is part of the group’s strategy to grow its ecosystem of value for consumers and monetise new and diverse revenue streams,” he added.

The 250-strong Shopritex division includes data science, e-commerce and personalisation experts who work alongside the group’s IT team to “create and implement new innovations”. Shoprite has about a thousand employees working in its IT department.

“The next era of growth for us is about precision retailing. Shopritex will use our rich customer data to supercharge a ‘smarter Shoprite’ and ultimately fuse the best of digital with our operational strength across the continent,” said Engelbrecht.  – © 2021 NewsCentral Media

Now read: Shoprite launches K’nect Mobile MVNO – pricing, details

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