In July 2020, with the pandemic at full strength and retailers coping with a loss of foot traffic due to lockdowns and consumer uncertainty, the operators of a Santa Ana, Calif., luxury apartment community, Nineteen01, opened Southern California’s first autonomous QuickEats Close Convenience store, a platform of Aramark.
The apartment owner, Greenwood & McKenzie, a privately held real estate investment and asset management firm, had initially opened the store the previous March to residents of the complex.
“Our tenants were able to social distance while buying necessities without having to leave the property,” said Greenwood & McKenzie General Partner Jim McKenzie. “By partnering with Aramark, a global leader in food and facilities management and the creator of QuickEats Close Convenience, and utilizing AWM Frictionless technology, we are able to offer consumers a fast, easy and safe shopping experience.”
AWM — Adroit Worldwide Media — is an artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision company with a comprehensive suite of retail solutions.
The convenience store features a variety of fresh and specialty items, such as Pressed Juicery juices, coconut water, grab-and-go sandwiches, cheese plates and fruit, as well as assorted beverages. In addition, it offers household items like cleaning products, toilet paper, dog food, and other goods.
“We made the decision to open our doors because QuickEats can provide vital food, drink, and personal care items to Nineteen01’s residents in a completely frictionless environment that adheres to the current protocols being requested by (Orange County’s) Health Officer,” AWM CEO Kevin Howard said at the time.
QuickEats Close Convenience uses computer vision cameras and sensors to create a fully automated, frictionless, self-guided shopping experience.
Shoppers simply download the QuickEats Close Convenience app, scan the app at the store entrance and conduct their shopping. As customers grab items off the shelves, they are added to the app’s shopping cart. When customers finish shopping, they simply exit the store. Shoppers are charged the total amount to their digital wallet and receive an emailed receipt – no checkout lines, no payment terminals, no hassle.
As the U.S. economy slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer attitudes toward options like frictionless checkout have evolved. Those expectations formed during the pandemic are here to stay.
Aramark is meeting those expectations with its partnership with AWM for its AWM Frictionless system, which uses deep learning algorithms and high-definition cameras throughout the store to track traffic and detect when customers interact with products.
The consumer is truly free to shop without constraints while the technology learns from the shopper to ensure the store is adding more of what they want and less of what they don’t quickly.
A demo of the QuickEats Close Convenience store is available online at www.quickeats.ai.