Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the UAE’s shopping mall, retail, and leisure operator, has inaugurated the region’s first contactless and checkout-free store, thanks to its artificial intelligence-enabled “Simply Walk Out” approach. Carrefour, the French grocery giant, has just opened its automated checkout-free Carrefour City+ shop in the Mall of the Emirates, allowing customers to buy items from the convenience store and walk out without having to queue and pay at the cash register.
Access to the store, which is lined with 97 small surveillance cameras and countless sensors, is possible only if the customer’s phone is equipped with the store’s smartphone app, MAF Carrefour App. When consumers enter Carrefour City+, every item they pick up is instantly placed in a digital shopping basket, and the purchase is finished by simply walking out. This implies, not only is the purchasing experience quicker, but it is also totally contactless, requiring no interaction with store employees. This is the first time MAF has opened a physical outlet that offers zero store-staff interaction.
To track a shopper’s movement inside the store, the cameras use a combination of computer vision and machine learning. According to the company, they employ tracking technology to identify consumers based on their body shape and do not collect any face recognition or biometric data. The cameras utilize key-point technology to distinguish each consumer and to detect when a customer picks up or drops a product, allowing their virtual baskets to be updated automatically.
MAF Carrefour’s smartphone app sends a digital receipt to the customer as soon as they leave the store, automatically charging the total cost of their basket to their registered card.
City+ is a first for Carrefour in the globe since it uses artificial intelligence and technology to properly identify thousands of goods, improving inventory management and making shopping easier for customers. Carrefour City+ has approximately 1,300 goods, including snacks, beverages, packaged foods, ready-to-eat meals, and basic necessities. It can be located near the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station link’s entrance.
For the AI technology, Majid Al Futtaim has collaborated with San Francisco-based Aifi. According to Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail, the store will continue to rely on AI technology to remove friction and enhance the retail experience. He further added that Carrefour City+ marks a major step forward for retail in the UAE and the region.
Inaugurated by His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Carrefour City+ is an excellent example of the private sector’s participation in assisting the UAE’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Strategy to become a major global center and open lab for 4IR application. It also aligns with the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which intends to position the UAE as a leader in AI investments and applications across a variety of industries.