- Frictionless checkout startup Grabango has struck a deal to install its computer vision-based technology at outlets operated by convenience chain Mapco, according to a Tuesday press release.
- Mapco plans to launch the technology, which allows customers to walk out of stores with purchases without stopping at a checkout, by this fall at two Tennessee stores, including a location based on the “store of the future” format of the retailer.
- Grabango’s deal with the southeast convenience store operator comes as the tech company prepares for a supermarket expansion, which founder and CEO Will Glaser expects to accelerate next year.
Overview of the dive:
While Grabango has focused its attention on convenience stores since it began working with retailers to bring its technology to stores, the company also intends to partner with supermarket operators, whose department stores pose a bigger challenge than the relatively small locations run by convenience chains. .
Grabango is already testing its equipment in a roughly 40,000 square foot store run by an unidentified supermarket operator and plans to add its technology to other grocery stores starting next year, Glaser said in an interview.
“2022 is the year when the number of convenience stores starts to get really big, but grocery stores are about a year behind … and they will start to scale in 2023,” Glaser said. He declined to provide further details on the timeline Grabango is considering or which retailers he is working with or intends to approach.
Amazon has already rolled out its Just Walk Out paymentless technology in Amazon Fresh Supermarkets and Amazon Go convenience stores, but Glaser said Grabango intends to distance itself from the e-commerce giant by emphasizing its ability to quickly upgrade existing stores because it doesn’t rely on sensors. shelves – a capability he described as a differentiator for the company.
Grabango currently works with seven retailers and its equipment operates on a total of 120,000 square feet of retail space, according to Grabango’s partnership with Mapco press release. Glaser said that figure includes the 40,000-square-foot grocery store where the company tests its equipment.
Retail partners announced by Grabango include grocery chain Giant Eagle, which announced last fall that it would add frictionless checkout equipment to several GetGo Cafe+Market convenience stores in the Pittsburgh area. The company has also signed with BP for renovate 10 convenience stores with its technology, and is working with Circle K to add frictionless payment technology to several stores in the convenience chain in Arizona.
In addition to Amazon, Grabango faces fierce competition from other startups as it seeks to build its presence in the frictionless payment space.
The company’s announcement that it is working with Mapco comes a day after rival computer vision developer Standard AI revealed it had upgraded a store in San Jose State University in California with cashless technology. The rollout, which involved Chartwells Higher Education, follows Standard’s announcement in October that convenience store chain Circle K had added his equipment at a location in Tempe, Arizona, as part of a planned multi-store rollout in the state.
Meanwhile, Georgia retail startup Nourish + Bloom Market recently opened a 1,500 square foot cashless grocery store in Fayetteville, Georgia, equipped with technology provided by computer vision company UST.
Other companies in the frictionless payment space include Trigo, which works with grocers such as Wakefern and Zippin.