Loop Opens Cashierless C-Store

The shipping-container store is adjacent to a Shell gas station in a California suburb.

December 23, 2019

CAMPBELL, Calif.—A new Loop Neighborhood Store just opened in the Silicon Valley suburb of Campbell, and it’s cashierless. Fortune reports that Loop collaborated with software startup AiFi to create the Nanostore in a shipping container adjacent to a Shell-branded gas station.

“We can use the technology to have a store entirely run by itself,” said AiFi CEO Steve Gu, who previously worked at Apple and Google. “We call it a self-operating store.”

The store’s interior looks just like a typical c-store but is only 1,500 square feet and carries 1,500 SKUs. The store is equipped with 12 cameras that capture shopper movements and servers that analyze the data. To enter the store, consumers must first download and app and connect a payment method with AiFi’s digital checkout system. AiFi says the technology makes checking out painless and helps prevent theft.

As Amazon Go’s reach expands, the trend is prompting other retailers to consider implementing the technology as it hopes to keep up with rising competition and customer demands. Amazon has more than 20 Amazon Go c-stores in New York, San Francisco and Seattle, with more plans to expand.

There are certainly perks to this new tech-based model: An automated and self-sufficient store can help the bottom line and cut costs when it comes to employees, can expand operating hours and improve customer experience. Analysts predict that automation technology will be a top trend for retailers in the new year, despite being a pricey model to implement.

Beside the Campbell store, AiFi said that it has two other Nanostores in the Netherlands and Shanghai, China, is testing seven others in European countries.