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Check Out Free Stores are Becoming a Major Trend

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The need for checkouts in supermarkets will be a thing of the past as major retail players like Amazon, Tesco, Alibaba, are investing in new AI (artificial intelligence) technologies for checkout-free stores.

Self-scan checkouts are already offered by major supermarket chains throughout the world, but they still do require customers to visit a dedicated checkout point and to scan the items themselves. But now with AI, the items you place in your cart can be scanned automatically and facial recognition payments can make shopping super fast.


Amazon just announced their new technology called “Just Walk Out” which will be implemented in their Amazon Fresh Stores.

The “Just Walk Out” service requires customers to first scan a QR code at the store entrance via the Amazon app then scan their palm or insert a payment card. While shopping, the items in each customer’s cart are identified by computer vision, sensors, and deep learning. Once all the shopping is done, customers can just walk out and the app will automatically charge from the selected payment method and send them the bill.

Amazon has already tested out check-out free services in its smaller convenience stores but now these technologies will be implemented in supermarkets of larger formats.


UK supermarket chain Tesco has also announced plans to roll out check-out free stores, following a one-year trial at its head office Express store in London. Instead of queuing at checkouts, customers will simply scan items as they go and upon leaving, will be automatically charged only for the items they are taking.

Like Amazon, Tesco’s cashier-less store is likely to work by using a network of cameras and sensors that track what shoppers put in their baskets.


Chinese internet giant Alibaba is now the leader in developing super high-tech supermarkets that are integrated with AI technology.

Alibaba launched its smile to pay system in 2017 and today the company operates more than 200 Freshippo supermarkets across China which use facial recognition payments, personalized food recommendations, and barcodes showing product provenance and sourcing information.

Their delivery service is also super fast, bringing online orders within a 3km radius in 30 minutes.


We see that AI technology is making its way into the grocery retail segment and it is only a matter of time when such technologies will be commonplace in other segments of the retail industry.  Checkouts and cash payments in stores will soon be a thing of the past, as AI technology and online payments take over.

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