- Standard AI, a computer vision and autonomous checkout technology company, has unveiled its new Zone Monitoring program, which allows companies to use cameras and its computer vision platform to monitor for empty shelves, potential theft and more, CEO Jordan Fisher said.
- The program uses cameras pointed at the zones in question — starting with tobacco, alcohol and hot food/grab and go — that monitor what items are taken off the shelves. This can be compared against sales data to highlight possible shrink.
- With retail shrink up over 19% from 2021 to 2022, according to the National Retail Federation, and some c-store chains even closing stores because of the problem, San Francisco-based Standard AI decided to focus in on this application of its technology.
Standard AI is best known for its autonomous checkout technology, which notes what shoppers pick up as they walk around stores and charges them for the items in their basket once they leave, with no need to stop at a register.
The camera and computer vision platform that supports this application can also be used for a number of other applications, however.
“In terms of where's the biggest need right now?” said Fisher. “The [concern] that we keep hearing from retailers over and over again is about shrink.”
These cameras can not only monitor areas for empty shelves, sending a notification to the store’s team when an item runs out, but can also compare the list of items the camera saw taken to the list of transactions and flagging where the two do not match up. There is some flexibility in the timing.
“I think it's a little bit easier in convenience because the average trip can be sub-five minutes,” Fisher said. “Whereas if you think about a grocery store trip, someone might be in that store for an hour.”
Moments of potential theft can be synced up with video so retailers can see what happened.
“It makes it really easy to say, well, here's a discrepancy. There's an outlier. And that's the one spot that maybe a [loss prevention] team should take a look at,” Fisher said.
Two c-stores — United Pacific, which operates Rocket stores, and Friendly Express — are part of the early rollout of Zone Monitoring, Fisher said.
The user interface can be learned with just a few minutes of training. For a fee, both video feeds and analytics can be accessed from any web browser.
Future planned additions include ID check verification, point of sale area and voided transactions monitoring, cash handling surveillance, scratch-off lottery tracking and planogram compliance.
C-stores and other retailers have been battling rising theft and supply chain disruptions over the past few years that have increased shrink levels. The average shrink rate in 2022 was 1.6%, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), up slightly from 1.4% in 2021. That percentage accounts for more than $100 billion in lost retail sales, according to NRF.
Standard AI also made headlines earlier this year when it bought self checkout company Skip Checkout in February for an undisclosed amount.