How this Qatar-based supermarket will offer no ‘check-outs’ by tracking customers in store

The first cashierless store in Qatar will open its doors during the much-awaited World Cup.

Qatar’s public may soon have the chance to drop long lines at cashiers and immediately walk out with snacks on hand thanks to new technology at Al Meera supermarkets.

The Qatari-owned supermarket chain has announced its partnership with Zippin, a top provider of checkout-free technology, in an effort to provide distinctive services to all community members through cutting-edge technology.

Zippin’s technology would transform Al Meera’s stores, reducing the amount of time it takes to buy a drink or a snack from 20 minutes to 20 seconds, according to the company’s website.

The company’s AI-powered platform uses machine learning and sensor fusion technology to boost retailer profitability with an entirely checkout-free shopping experience.

 “We are excited to introduce these new checkout-free stores to make shopping more convenient and fun for our customers. This step is part of our expansion plans to ensure that our services are always within the reach of all consumers,” Al Meera said in a statement.

It also added that consumers will soon be able to easily take their drinks and snacks from the shops and finish their purchases quickly and without any problems.

When, where, and how

The stores, driven by Zippin’s multimodal artificial intelligence (AI) technology, will be located in desirable areas in need of a mini-market to provide consumers with rapid and self-service access to drinks and snacks like water, soft drinks, coffee, chips, nuts, doughnuts, and more.

The smart stores will work by tracking customers from the moment they enter until they leave, simplifying and accelerating the purchasing process to make it quicker, easier, less stressful, and more fun for customers to make purchases.

Cameras and sensors are used to track the shopper inside, automatically recognising the objects picked up and returned from the shelves by creating a virtual shopping cart for each customer.

Once the shopper leaves the store, the software will immediately charge the cost of the acquired things from their credit card, whether the items are placed in their pocket, bag, purse, or even just carried by hand.

This way, customers will spend seconds instead of minutes purchasing a drink or snack thanks to the technology.

The latest deal falls in line with the nation’s strategy to achieve digital transformation, using modern technology solutions to “promote cashless payment solutions and facilitate economic growth in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030,” it stated.

As part of Al Meera’s numerous initiatives to ensure that residents and visitors to Qatar during the World Cup have a memorable experience and contribute to the tournament’s success, the first outlet of the unmanned stores is scheduled to open its doors to customers during the eagerly anticipated upcoming mega event.

“We’re excited to partner with Al Meera, delivering frictionless shopping to their customers. Having Zippin-powered stores in the Middle East for the first time shows the impressive traction of checkout-free shopping around the world,” said Krishna Motukuri, Zippin CEO and co-founder.

“It’s clear that shoppers love the convenience and speed: something we’ve proven time and again with each new Zippin-powered store.”

There are currently 60 Zippin-powered stores open throughout the globe, serving 625,000 customers. By dropping checkout queues, the Zippin-powered stores have reduced shopping time by 104,000 hours.

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