Tesco is preparing to go head-to-head with Amazon Go by investing in technology that will allow it to open cashierless stores to compete with the US multinational’s “grab-and-go” grocery offering.
The UK’s largest supermarket chain has invested an undisclosed sum of money into Trigo Vision, an Israeli start-up that uses Artificial Intelligence to create checkout-free operations for large grocers whereby customers can enter a shop, pick up what they want to purchase and walk out again without any physical transaction taking place.
Amazon launched its first Go store underneath its Seattle headquarters last January, and now operates more than a dozen branches across that state and in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
The UK is tipped to be the location of Amazon Go’s first European outpost - some retail experts predicted in 2018 that a London store would open by the end of the year. No branch has materialised yet but earlier this year it was reported that Amazon had secured retail space in capital for its first cashierless store here.
An Amazon Go rollout across the UK would shakeup the nation’s grocery market, and, should it prove popular with customers, could threaten Tesco’s dominance.
Trigo Vision says its “advanced retail automation platform” is able to identify the products customers pick up with “exceptional levels of accuracy”, meaning Tesco would likely be able to match Amazon’s cutting-edge retail offering.
But while Tesco customers may welcome the speed and convenience of cashierless stores, the “proprietary algorithms and neural networks” that facilitate this service could be less warmly received.
Trigo is able to detect the items selected and taken home with such accuracy thanks to a “network of ceiling-mounted cameras [that] sees what no other system can see,” the company’s website states.
“We create a 3D image of the shop-floor environment, and map the movement of every object as consumers shop,” it adds.