The first hotel convenience store which uses biometric authentication to verify the identities of customers has opened in Japan.
A partnership between Zippin and Fujitsu has resulted in the opening of a contactless hotel store using biometric technology within the Yokohama Techno Tower Hotel.
According to a Zippin announcement, the hotel retail format store was opened as a pilot early this year through Fujitsu’s partnership with Koyo Group. The biometric technology was trialed at a convenience store in Fujitsu Technology Square in January.
The new deployment is the first hotel convenience store which uses biometric authentication to verify the identities of customers that is open to the general public in Japan, the statement adds. With the system, the hotel store operators are keeping both customers and workers safe from pandemic contagion as the cashierless checkout prevents physical contacts, saves up time and reduces the stress of having to stand on queues for long periods. The system is expected to reach full operation by April, and its operators say results are positive so far, especially regarding the limited amount of time shoppers spend in the store.
Customers access the store via a smartphone application, and must register their credit card information, and then enter the store with the QR code displayed on the Green Leaves + app. They can also use the multi-modal biometric authentication technology that links their palm vein and facial recognition information with the smartphone application, the company notes. After this is submitted, users just need to swipe their palm to gain entrance to the store.
Once inside, shoppers just grab what they want and go. Zippin’s combination of cameras and shelf sensors automatically keep track of what people take and automatically charge them upon leaving the store. Zippin said that based on early analytics shoppers are spending an average of just 113 seconds inside the Green Leaves Plus store.
This first Green Leaves Plus store in the Yokohama Techno Tower could be just the beginning for Zippin in Japan. In addition to hotels, the Koyo Group operates convenience stores and restaurants in more than 500 hospitals, and from the press announcement emailed to The Spoon, Green Leaves Plus is part of Koyo’s multiphase expansion plan to create new c-store concepts for hospitals.
The pandemic has pushed retailers towards cashierless checkout solutions as they look to reduce human-to-human contact. As such, we’ll be seeing a lot more cashierless checkout stores opening around the world.
Zippin’s technology uses a combination of shelf sensors, cameras, computer vision and artificial intelligence to create a cashierless checkout experience in physical stores. Once in the store, shoppers can grab what they want, walk out and get charged automatically upon exit. According to the press release sent to The Spoon, Fujitsu may add its own multi-biometric authentication layer to the final product it offers.
The Zippin and Fujitsu partnership comes following a pilot program the two completed with the Lawson convenience store chain in Japan. That implementation used a palm reader for user authentication. Fujitsu will start offering Zippin’s technology in March of 2021
Interest in cashierless checkout has been accelerating this year as retailers look for ways to minimize human-to-human interaction during the ongoing global pandemic. On its face, cashierless checkout removes the need for shoppers to interact with a human cashier, reducing the amount of labor needed for a store. But the technology can also mean shoppers themselves spend less time inside the store. This means fewer people in the store at any given time.