Could a cashier-less and contactless shopping experience be successful, just like Amazon Go? It’s uncharted waters, as Carrefour and Majid Al Futtaim launch their new unmanned cashier-less “Carrefour City+” outlet in the UAE.
The first branch is located at the Mall of the Emirates, giving people a taste of how you can just walk-in and out within minutes for shopping. Plus, there’s no cashier involved for the payment step.
This concept was already being implemented by Amazon; I got to try it back in 2019. Seeing Carrefour implementing this will test the waters on whether the region is ready for it.
If this is similar to Amazon Go, this is definitely using some of the Amazon’s thinking for this unmanned mini-market:
- Cameras powered by a combination of computer vision and machine learning follow a shopper’s movement inside the store.
- Cameras use tracking technology to identify shoppers through their body structure, after customer scans barcode to enter. This links the person to the individual account on the app.
- All of this combined with AI processing it with the presence of multiple shoppers
All of this is possible using the MAF Carrefour app on your smartphone (iOS/Android). The app is essential, as it gives shoppers access to the Carrefour City+ outlet. Just pick up the item(s) from the shelf and they’re added to your virtual shopping cart.
Change your mind midway? Just put the items back in their respective shelf. Done with the quick shopping? Exit the outlet and the total amount is charged to your account via the MAF Carrefour app.
Don’t expect you can buy everything just like at a large Carrefour. Items that will be sold include essentials, food, beverages, meals, and other similar items that flyoff the shelves.
Carrefour can definitely take credit for being the first to bring this concept to the Middle East. The only question: will this spread its wings to more cities? That will be a decision by Majid Al Futtaim Group, as they are the regional franchisee of Carrefour across the Middle East.
Image credit: Majid Al Futtaim (Twitter)