STORES Magazine - January 2018 - 56
n STARTUP SPOTLIGHT
Standard Cognition makes frictionless checkout a reality
by SUSAN REDA, EDITOR
umans hate waiting in line - and
retailers are captivated by the prospect
of frictionless point of sale. Anything they
can do to remove resistance from in-store
transactions yields happier shoppers and
better shopping experiences.
Standard Cognition's solution is simple:
It removes the checkout process entirely.
The San Francisco-based start-up's
artificial intelligence and computer
vision-based system lets consumers shop
and pay without having to scan bar codes
or queue up to check out; they simply
remove items from the shelf, place them in
their bag and leave. Payment is processed
automatically as shoppers exit the store,
and store inventory is updated in real time.
"Our solution is fully autonomous, and
the technology can be deployed very fast,"
says Michael Suswal, co-founder and chief
operating officer. "We put cameras in
the ceiling, set up a computer in the back
room and that's it."
The cameras, which are slightly more
sophisticated than traditional security
STORES January 2018
cameras, can identify who walks in, what
they're carrying and what they walk
out with. Facial recognition is not used;
the images keep the data anonymized
and they are removed once the person
leaves the store. The platform hosts all its
processes on-premise, rather than over a
Two apps underpin the technology
- one for shoppers and one for store
staff. Customers check in by simply
opening the shopper app; there's no need
to interact with it beyond that. On the
store side, staff can monitor who's in the
store, where they are and what they're
buying; the system automatically detects
shoppers, matches them to their basket
and processes payment.
artificial intelligence and
system lets consumers shop
and pay without having to
scan bar codes or queue up
to check out.
Shoppers can shop as a guest, but some
of the convenience is lost: Guests are
directed to a kiosk where the store app
detects the shopper and the basket and
accepts payment via credit card or cash.
Anyone who attempts to leave without
paying will be flagged on the store app
and redirected by staff to a kiosk.
"There are a handful of companies
out there trying to solve for frictionless
checkout. We've seen trials where shoppers
scan items with their smartphone, another
measure uses a smart basket and many
are familiar with the Amazon Go
experiment which relied on floor sensors,
specialized shelves, machine vision and
several other tools," Suswal says.
"The difference is that our technology
doesn't require investments in sensors or
radio frequency identification. We can
deploy this technology in a small store in
a day - even large retailers can be up and
running in less than two weeks."
Suswal believes the Standard Cognition
platform can help retailers lower labor
costs, reduce shrink, take back real estate
formerly dedicated to checkout and better
"Our solution improves the checkout
experience for their customers and thus
improves their ability to compete," he says.
Right now, the most natural application
for this technology is smaller format:
convenience stores, mom and pop
operators or small footprint grocery
retailers. In the meantime, the team is
working to solve challenges around fitting
rooms and items that need to be weighed.
"Obviously we can't put cameras in a
fitting room, so we need to solve for that
before we could deploy in an apparel
setting," says Suswal.
Early next year plans call for opening
a beta store that will demonstrate how
the technology works. Suswal expects to
have four to five pilots up and running