An Indian startup has launched a fully automated supermarket store in Kochi, on similar lines as Amazon Go stores in the US, where the shoppers would not have to stand in long-winding queues or interact with cashiers. The fully-automated store named ‘Watasale’ has been launched by a Kochi-based startup Nayasale Retail Pvt Ltd at the city’s Gold Souk Grande Mall.
The store is fully autonomous and does not have any salesperson, scanning personnel or cashiers at the manning counters. Also, there won’t be any need to scan products, make payments, generate bills or get bills checked at the exit.
The Watasale store is based on a ‘just-walk-out’ technology, which is first of its kind in India, using the combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer vision and sensor fusion. It is the same technology that has been employed in self-driving cars. Right now, retail giant Amazon has used this technology in its grocery store ‘Amazon Go’ in Seattle, the US.
The store currently has two racks on the either side of the store with a variety of products such as soft drinks, packed foods, pharmaceuticals, chocolates to talcum powder and soap. As soon as the customer chooses and picks the products, computer vision and multiple sensors inside the store will automatically pick up signals that particular product that has been purchased off a particular shelf and then bill it to the right customer.
Just one week after its launch, the team of techies behind the country’s first autonomous store have received a funding offer as well as strategic partnership from Japan-based conglomerate Mitsui and Co Ltd, according to The Indian Express.
Here is how it works
- The customers just need to download the Watasale app from the Play Store.
- Walk in with their mobile phone in the store.
- Scan the QR code generated by the app at the entry of the store.
- Shop/pick whatever products they want to buy.
- The cameras and sensors installed inside the store will make sure that there is no shoplifting or pilferage.
- Walk out with the purchased products.
- Within 5 minute of exit from the store, the shopper will receive the bill on his/her phone for which payment can be done via mobile wallets, debit or credit cards.
Right now, the customers can make the purchases and pay later. However, the startup is planning to have wallets where the customers would be required to have a certain amount in their wallets which will get auto debited once he/she buys the products and leaves the store, said the company’s chief marketing officer Rajesh Malamal, adding that it will also add an auto debit feature from a credit card.