Cashierless stores are graduating on college campuses – RetailWire
April 01, 2022
Automated grocery stores are slowly but surely popping up around the world since the launch of Amazon Go. Now, a checkout-less concept is on its way to college campuses, along with other new tech-enhanced food solutions for college students.
School catering provider Sodexo announcement that it will launch self-contained grocery stores on college campuses nationwide starting this spring. The grocery store concept is called eat > NOW, and one of the first will open on the University of Denver campus on April 6.
Sodexo also provides high-tech touchscreen meal vending machines with 80 selections including ramen and udon. Finally, the supplier is launching three virtual restaurant delivery concepts only available through its application for universities for dormitory delivery.
AiFi, the vendor Sodexo has partnered with to implement the self-driving grocery stores, offers a turnkey solution that allows retailers to launch fully checkout-less stores similar to Amazon Go, according to Tech Crunch. The solution is based on artificial intelligence and computer vision.
Earlier this year, Aldi partnered with AiFi in the UK to launch its first checkout-free location in London, according to Technological innovation center for the retail trade.
While Just Walk Out technology and other cashierless payment gradations aren’t quite mainstream, they could gain momentum in grocery stores. Amazon.com recently opened its second Whole Foods store equipped with Just Walk Out technology, according to Produce a blue book.
Colleges are also becoming a popular location for other types of automated and robotic retail technologies.
Rolling delivery robots, for example, are used on college campuses across the United States. While outside of college environments, municipalities have had mixed responses to these robots due to potential public safety concerns, college campuses may represent a more controlled environment where robots can roam. .
Last month, the University of Tennessee joined the list of schools deploying rolling drones to deliver food to its sidewalks, according to a local. Newscast. The vehicles are manufactured by Starship Technologies.
In 2019, Starship Technologies operated on 20 college campuses in 15 states when The edge said it was expanding to four new schools.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect the reaction to stand-alone grocers on campuses to be different than at general markets? What is the value of campuses as proving grounds when considering general purpose technology?
“University buyers won’t mirror the average buyer outside of the controlled environment of the college campus, but it’s a good way to test technology and concept.”