Circle K Pilots Amazon Go-Style Tech

Cyndi Loza
Managing Editor, Member Content, P2PI
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Circle K is teaming with San Francisco startup Standard Cognition to pilot touchless, autonomous checkout technology at its stores.

The convenience store chain is working with the startup to retrofit existing stores with artificial intelligence technology that will enable autonomous, touchless checkout. The partnership will start at “a number of stores in the Phoenix area,” Magnus Tagtstrom, head of digital innovation at Circle K's parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard, told Forbes. The first pilot store will go live early next year.

Circle K shoppers at the first pilot store will be able to choose this automated shopping experience by checking in to the location via a Circle K or Standard Cognition mobile application. When participating shoppers walk out of the store, the app will automatically ring up their purchases. Standard's AI technology will also track everything picked up by a shopper in the store, regardless of whether they use the app, and feed the data to the cashier to eliminate the need to scan each item and save shoppers time, according to Forbes.  

In order to retrofit stores with this AI technology, Standard is working with Circle K to integrate with the retailer's existing systems, current store layout, fixtures and lighting, as well as their existing inventory management and replenishment processes. Unlike Amazon Go stores, there is no need for shelf sensors. Instead, Standard leverages ceiling-mounted cameras as well as proprietary AI and machine vision software to accurately associate each shopper with the items they pick up without using biometric data, according to a media release.

Creating a frictionless shopping experience has been high on Circle K’s list of priorities for some time, Tagtstrom said in the release. The ability to retrofit existing stores also gives the retailer the option to move forward more quickly and in a more cost-efficient fashion. 

“Autonomous checkout is one of our innovation priorities that enable us to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day. We thoroughly evaluated the market and realized that working with Standard presented significant benefits since they could integrate with our existing systems and retrofit our existing stores,” said Tagtstrom in the release. “We will not have to relocate merchandise, replace shelves or build an entirely new store to implement autonomous checkout. We are excited to partner with Standard to try this technology in some of our stores worldwide.”