Checkouts, shelves… artificial intelligence will revolutionize your in-store shopping

“My races in a flash. On the window of this Carrefour convenience store in eastern Paris, the advertising tag attracts passers-by. Quickly get something to prepare the meal? Chick. Inside, nothing unusual except the absence of a cashier and conveyor belt to drop off your purchases. Instead, automatic terminals at the back of the shop. Surprise: even before touching the screen, our purchases are displayed there! All you have to do is pay contactless with your bank card. Magical ? Not quite.

Carrefour has been testing the artificial intelligence-based technology of the American start-up AiFi in this store for just over a year. It follows and interprets the gestures of each customer (transformed into an anonymous avatar by the machine) thanks to the analysis of images provided by 60 cameras on the ceiling and data transmitted by 2,000 weight sensors placed in the connected shelves. As soon as products are taken from a shelf, they are saved in a virtual basket, recognized instantly when paying.

Such a performance, a few years ago, would have come from a science fiction film. But today it is very concrete. State-of-the-art algorithms are now able to process an ever-increasing amount of data to make decisions without human intervention and are constantly improving.


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Artificial intelligence has already proven its effectiveness in optimizing merchant logistics. “Thanks to the real-time study of information from stores, e-commerce sites and warehouses, the tools developed allow retailers to manage their stocks as accurately as possible”, recalls Mike Hadjadj, co-founder of La Retail Tech, a community of retail innovation specialists. For their part, sales and marketing departments also benefit from algorithms to refine their pricing or loyalty policy. From now on, it is the customers in the shops who will gradually realize the interest of such finds.

Out of stock products, lack of open cases, absence or error of label, expired products. To remedy all these situations that annoy customers, artificial intelligence provides effective answers. What also satisfy traders. At Carrefour or Casino, for example, we welcome the first results obtained thanks to the technology combining cameras above the shelves in stores and the analysis algorithm of the Amiens start-up, tested in several supermarkets.

“We have reduced supply disruptions by 50%”, rejoices Cédric Osternaud, Executive Director Marketing, e-commerce and innovation of the Casino Group.. The latter also appreciates another tool offered by this young company: intelligent boxes placed at the entrance to the store count the customers and calculate the number of checkouts to come in the next half hour. “The staff can thus anticipate and avoid the interminable queues. »

The work of department heads will also be facilitated. A concrete example ? The management of food products that are approaching their expiry date. A plague for the teams forced to check each package one by one and then decide on a possible price reduction before placing it in a dedicated refrigerated container.

Co-founder of Smartway, a young shoot from Nantes, Paul-Adrien Menez thinks he has found the solution: “We have developed software which determines the appropriate reduction according to multiple criteria such as the weather, the season or the day of the week, explains. -he. He can also decide if it is not better to give the product to an association that needs it. » Established in more than 350 Auchan stores, Smartway will have processed 22 million products by the end of the year and more than 30 million next year.


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Security personnel should also benefit from this. Even with surveillance cameras, it is not always easy to spot shoplifting, which can represent 3% of a business’s sales. With its algorithm for detecting suspicious gestures in real time, which is continuously improving, the Parisian start-up Veesion claims to achieve a detection rate of 99%. Automatically notified, security guards can block the thief at the exit. Launched last year, the solution has already won over Monoprix and Biocoop in France in particular.

To note that it is only interested in physical movements, without facial recognition or identity registration. Something to reassure those who might rightly be worried about Big Brother espionage.


Shortage: how supermarkets adapt to stockouts

The supermarket of tomorrow will be full of cameras and sensors

We offer you below a selection of these innovations, existing or still in the boxes.

  • Sufficient baskets. A camera monitors whether the baskets are not missing, and counts the entries to anticipate the staff at the checkouts, if these are not automatic.
  • Promos to empty the shelves. Above the fresh section, cameras follow the rotations and launch promotions at the end of the day, to sell off the stocks. Next step: monitoring product freshness.
  • Smart trucks at last. In the strapping above the Caddy, cameras record the products deposited, without having to be scanned.
  • No more stockouts. Cameras scan the shelves and alert in case of missing products. Labels are also checked. Advertising videos will be broadcast at the level of the rails, under the shelves.
  • A waste finally avoided. Employees no longer have to worry about what to do with products nearing their expiration date. The AI ​​indicates the right discount depending on the time, the season or the weather, or if it makes more sense to offer them to an association.
  • Always busy staff. Tomorrow’s employees will wear glasses showing them, in augmented reality, the tasks to be performed, decided by the AI.
  • Thieves quickly detected. From the images of surveillance cameras, an algorithm detects suspicious gestures, to reduce mowing.
  • The end of expired products. Minidrones will be able to identify products whose use-by date is approaching. They will also carry out inventories.
  • Ultra-fast checkouts. At future automatic checkouts, there is no longer any need to scan each item. It will be enough to deposit everything, and the amount will be calculated in the moment.
  • A digital space for meals. An autonomous zone will be reserved for the sale of high-margin products, mainly used for meals. Cameras and sensors on the shelves will record purchases. Registered customers will be charged automatically, without having to checkout.
  • Real-time exchanges. We will chat live, in writing or by voice, with a robot to get information on the products on the shelves, or on an order in progress.

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Checkouts, shelves… artificial intelligence will revolutionize your in-store shopping

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