Qatar-based Al Meera Consumer Goods has partnered with Zippin, a leading provider of checkout-free technology, to open fully autonomous stores in strategic locations offering unique services through innovative technology.

The stores will provide visitors with snacks, beverages, grab-and-go meals, and other essential items in a seamless and cashier-less process.

Commenting on this new offering in the market, Al Meera stated: “We are excited to introduce these new checkout-free stores to make shopping more convenient and fun for our customers. This step is part of our expansion plans to ensure that our services are always within the reach of all consumers. In addition, it is in line with the country’s strategy to achieve digital transformation, using modern technology solutions to promote cashless payment solutions and facilitate economic growth in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030.

“These stores will enable our customers to quickly grab their drinks and snacks, and complete their transactions seamlessly. We continuously strive to keep pace with the growing demands of customers in a digital-dominated era.”

The stores, powered by Zippin’s multimodal artificial intelligence (AI) technology, will be situated in attractive locations in need of a mini-market to offer drinks and snacks, such as water, soft drinks, coffee, chips, nuts, donuts and more to customers in a quick and self-service manner.

The frictionless smart stores operate through a collection of cameras and sensors that track the customers from point of entry until they leave making ease and speeding up the purchasing process to make shopping transactions faster, simpler, less stressful and more enjoyable to customers.

The first outlet of the unmanned stores is planned to its open doors to customers during the much-awaited upcoming Fifa World Cup 2022 Qatar as part of Al Meera’s various initiatives to ensure that residents and visitors to Qatar during the mega event have a memorable experience and contribute to the resounding success of the tournament.

“We’re excited to partner with Al Meera, delivering frictionless shopping to their customers,” said Krishna Motukuri, Zippin CEO and co-founder. “Having Zippin-powered stores in the Middle East for the first time shows the impressive traction of checkout-free shopping around the world. It's clear that shoppers love the convenience and speed: something we've proven time and again with each new Zippin-powered store."

The checkout-free stores’ software automatically identifies the items picked or put back, using overhead cameras and sensors, and creates a virtual shopping cart for each shopper. The shopper can put the items in their pocket, bag, purse or simply carry them and the software will directly charge the cost of the purchased items from the customers’ credit card as soon as they leave the shop. The stores will significantly reduce the time customers spend to buy a drink or snack from minutes to seconds.

Zippin combines vision cognition technology with machine learning to accurately account for shoppers’ behaviour and products’ whereabouts in-store. To date, 60 Zippin-powered stores have been launched around the world serving 625,000 shoppers. The Zippin-powered stores have helped save 104,000 shopping hours by eliminating checkout lines.

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