Checkout lines, scanning and checkout processes at brick-and-mortar stores: time-tested approach or frustrating aspect? If Standard Cognition has its way, these and similar payment processes will soon be a thing of the past. Michael Suswal, COO and co-founder of Standard Cognition describes the alternatives and reveals what the future of shopping will look like.
Mr. Suswal, you’re working with AI-powered checkout. What does your technology already offer today and where is there still potential for development?
Standard Cognition is focused on eliminating all the friction from the shopping and checkout process, for both the shopper and the retailer. That means no turnstiles, no barriers, no sensored shelves, and no waiting in line, scanning or stopping to pay. Standard’s solution offers all of that today.
One area of potential here is helping retailers re-think store layouts and item displays. We’ve designed our solution so that it’s very light footprint – just cameras on the ceiling – so it can easily be retrofitted in any existing store. But we’re also encouraging retailers to think about what’s possible when they eliminate those checkout lines and cash registers. We are working closely with Mars Wrigley, for instance, to examine how impulse item sales will change in an autonomous checkout environment. There is potential to significantly change store layouts to optimize them for the way people want to shop.
What role does customer data protection play for you?
Data protection and privacy have been the core to Standard’s mission since day one. One of our chief tenants has always been to not collect or use any biometric data on shoppers, including facial recognition. We did this knowing that it would make creating our solution much more technologically challenging. But we also knew it was the right thing to do.
A look into the future: how do you think our shopping experience will change within the next 10 years?
Well, certainly we think that traditional checkout lines and stations will be largely gone. In addition to autonomous checkout and the freedoms that come with it, I expect to see a focus on personalization, customization, and localization. Retailers are concentrating more on the shopping experience and not just convenience. Retailers have locations that they can design to be experiential. Indeed the trend I see is to purposefully rethink what the retail experience is like. I expect to see fewer surface touchpoints in 10-20 years, with the ability for AI to understand customer needs and desires and to automatically make them happen; shipping, item locating, suggesting products, shopping by recipe, etc. Brick & Mortar retail will be focused on doing things that online shopping cannot. The ability to have a physical space opens up the kind of experiences a retailer can provide. The only thing better than virtual reality is …reality.
Interview: Sonja Koller, EuroShop editorial team