More than 70 convenience stores Wundermart (formerly Jutter Speijs) can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany since 2014. The shops are usually scattered in the area of hotels, offices and transportation hubs.
Since mid-February, Wundermart has launched 20 autonomous convenience stores in Amsterdam. Like autonomous cars without a crew, the shops, which range in size from 50-200 square feet, have no waiters and cashiers.
Consumers are free to enter, choose the food and drink they like, enjoy at a place or take it home, as they like. But, all of that was done alone without any help, including when making payments at the cashier desk.
Wundermart is indeed classified as a convenience store that is modern and full of technology. Behind its sophistication, it seems that there is a leading technology company that specializes in creating an autonomous shopping experience based on AI from Santa Clara, California, namely AiFi.
Since the launch of the 20 Wundermart autonomous convenience stores in Amsterdam, AiFi will support similar store launches in the wider European market. AiFi brings computer vision technology to these stores to enhance the shopping experience.
The technology also eliminates friction during checkout, improves investment management, provides deep consumer insights, and tracks automatic product replenishment to suppliers, and so on.
AiFi technology is also trained to recognize tens of thousands of product items offered by Wundermart with pinpoint accuracy, including products on shelves of various sizes, hot, frozen, or fresh food-drinks, and so on.
Wundermart said that he would carry AiFi technology to more than 1,000 autonomous convenience stores which he would develop in the future. “AiFI technology helps us create a pleasant, comfortable and safe shopping experience for consumers,” said Laurens de Kleine, co-founder of Wundermart.
The presence of autonomous convenience stores is a smart solution for retailers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as it is today. According to Steve Gu, AiFi co-founder and CEO, the pandemic has caused everything in life to shift, including how to shop.
“This shift makes innovation a requirement. That’s why, we are pleased to partner with Wundermart to make its unmanned market completely contactless,” said Gu.
Driven by technological sophistication, especially after the discovery of AI technology, the trend of opening autonomous convenience stores continues to expand. Apart from Wundermart, AiFi also helps the world’s top retailers such as Carrefour, Albert Heijn, and Zabka to develop similar stores.
In the world, according to research firm Research And Markets, the global autonomous convenience store in 2019 was worth US$67.48 million. By 2027, its market value will soar to US$1.6 billion, and possibly even more because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.