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Stores without cashiers and sales staff may become Russian reality

22 мая 2020

(English)

Russia’s largest savings bank, Sberbank, and Visa have begun testing a technology-assisted convenience store that has no cashiers and sales staff, the Russian business news daily RBC reported. The technology will make it possible to use a mobile app to pay from one’s banking card, and a computer vision system is expected to make sure no unlawful activity occurs in the unstaffed store.

The project is currently being tested behind closed doors with a limited number of buyers in a convenience store called Azbuka Vkusa in downtown Moscow. The partners hope it will be open for everybody within a month’s time.

A special computer vision system will be monitoring the number and assortment of goods on shelves in order to help a buyer collect items he’s picked in his virtual shopping basket (no physical carts are required). Is the customer puts the item back on the shelf, the item will be automatically removed from his virtual basket.

To benefit from this shopping of the future, one should download the Take&Go mobile app from Sberbank, register, link a Visa banking card to his app account to enable payments, and enter email to send receipts to.

As the customer comes inside such a store, he scans a QR code on a special turnstile, using his smartphone. This permits him to simply grab items he wants—and just walk out. Payment will be conducted automatically from his card, followed by a push notification to his phone and an e-receipt to his email.

A spokesperson for Azbuka Vkusa said the cameras-enabled technology leaves no fraud cases undetected, and does it fast. With machine learning algorithms used in the project, any perpetrator will be logged and therefore prevented from recidivating next time.

The partners opted not to disclose the cost of the project at this stage.

The Russian bank and Visa are following in the footsteps of the global retail majors that have already tested the waters. In early 2018, Amazon blazed the trail when it opened its first cashierless Amazon Go convenience store in the U.S.

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