Stores without a single employee

Stores without a single employee

A Russian startup has opened ten stores near the house, in which there are no cashiers — they are replaced by artificial intelligence. This format provides a number of advantages compared to traditional points of sale: in addition to saving on salaries, significantly higher service speed. The advantage of the project itself is the cost, which makes the technology available to small businesses.

In December 2016, Amazon introduced the concept of a grocery store without cash registers and launched testing of the first one in Seattle. In 2018, it opened its doors to everyone. Before entering the store, the buyer installs the Amazon Go app. Inside, he takes the goods he needs from the shelves and then simply leaves — the funds are debited from his card automatically.

In order to understand which of the visitors takes which product, the company has developed a special complex of IT solutions, who closely monitors all visitors in the store. It is based on machine learning, artificial intelligence, IoT sensors and video cameras — the same information technologies that are equipped with autonomous cars of the future.

The revolutionary concept of Amazon Go inspired Gleb Kharitonov, a graduate of the Russian International Academy of Tourism, who founded the first and only startup of this kind in Russia called Briskly, which currently employs 10 people.

A company with an office in Moscow offers similar opportunities, but the cost of the solution is ten times lower than existing American and Chinese analogues. In order to get into the Briskly store, the buyer installs a mobile application, enters his data into it and presses the “Enter the store” button on the smartphone screen to unlock the door lock. Then he goes into the room and takes the goods he needs from the shelves. Before leaving the store, the customer clicks the “Exit” button in the app. Inside the store, the buyer is monitored by cameras and artificial intelligence. They determine which products and in what quantity he has chosen. When you exit, funds are debited automatically from the attached card. Artificial intelligence understands when a customer picked up a product and decided to keep it for himself, and when he changed his mind and returned it to the shelf. You can sell everything that has a barcode in such a store. The obligation to renew the assortment lies with the store’s management, who also needs to monitor the shelf life of the goods. There are no restrictions on weight and dimensions.

Scan and take it away

The cost of existing solutions of such a self-service principle, which is called Scan & Go, compose from 30 million rubles., therefore, only large retail chains can afford them. Briskly also offers the system for use for 10% of the turnover. At the same time, the company undertakes acquiring and even paying for the services of the fiscal data operator. In addition, the basic conditions of cooperation include marketing support.

The company promises to use social networks to inform residents of the district about the appearance of an innovative store and tell them what goods can be bought there. The audience of Scan & Go stores is residents of nearby houses, that is, this is an innovative format of “shop at home”. To launch their own Briskly point, the customer will need the following minimum: a metal container, its cost is 900 thousand rubles, and a system of round-the-clock access control (47 thousand rubles). This is comparable to the cost of one self-service checkout. But, unlike Briskly, such cash registers do not solve the problem of queues.

Customers do not need cashiers

According to a survey of visitors to stores with an area of up to 300 square meters, 81% of respondents want to buy quickly. The Scan & Go format meets this urgent need. The company claims that the set of advantages that the new concept brings, helps to increase the average receipt by 35% compared to the point of sale of the traditional format.

In addition to containers, Briskly can be integrated into existing retail stores. According to preliminary calculations of the developer, the benefit may be as follows: a 15% increase in sales volume due to attracting new customers, increasing the average receipt, switching to a round-the-clock mode and dynamic pricing; savings of 25% due to effective sales and inventory management, as well as due to the transition to a service without cash registers and, finally, an 80% reduction in the workload of employees during peak hours due to automation of part of sales.

The Briskly solution can be integrated not only in stores, but also in cafes, gas stations, etc. “Don’t you want live communication, queues? Use the app”, – they say in Briskly. It is noteworthy that, according to the same survey, 50% of customers prefer not to communicate with the cashier. Today 10 Briskly stores have been launched and 20 more are being negotiated. The volume of investments in the project was about 10 million rubles. It is planned to reach payback in 2019. Over time, Briskly plans to take over the process of renewing the range. The company intends to independently supply all the necessary products to the partner stores, combining them into a single network. This should bring additional benefits to the point owners.

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