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10/13/2021

Circle K Brings Fully Frictionless Checkout Experience to Arizona

The Standard AI system will roll out at stores in Tempe and Tucson over the coming weeks.

LAVAL, Quebec — Circle K is continuing its innovation journey by introducing a fully frictionless technology at existing stores in Arizona.

In partnership with Standard AI, a leading computer vision platforms for retail, the company has rolled out an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, checkout-free experience at an initial store in Tempe. The program will be followed by implementation at other stores in Tempe and Tucson.

The store features a network of AI-powered cameras mounted at strategic locations throughout its interior. The system accurately identifies products that shoppers pick up and automatically records their purchases on the Circle K mobile app, eliminating time spent in traditional checkout areas.

The system was able to integrate fully with Circle K's retail operations, including inventory management systems and visual merchandising, without needing to halt store operations or alter the store layout.

The new frictionless experience comes months after Circle K's parent company, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., opened a lab store on the campus of Montreal's McGill University, where it began testing automated checkout, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

"We are continually exploring ways to introduce technology that empowers our teams and shows our commitment to be a leader in retail innovation," said Deborah Hall Lefevre, Couche-Tard's chief technology officer. "In Montreal, we built and opened our first frictionless location. In Arizona, we are going the next step by retrofitting existing stores with autonomous self-checkout systems to gain further insights into how frictionless technology can both make it easy and save time for our customers and allow our team members to focus on delivering a great experience. At all times, the privacy of our customers' data is our highest priority."

She noted that in addition to improving and speeding up the customer experience, the autonomous checkout systems enhance the work experience for store team members who now have more time to help customers, and that investing in innovation and growth is important to attracting and retaining employees interested in companies on the forefront of advancements in convenience and mobility.

More retrofitted Circle K locations will roll out in Arizona over the coming weeks as the company explores different fully autonomous checkout solutions.

"We are excited to partner with Circle K to open the first of a series of autonomous checkout experiences in Arizona that truly enhances the customer experience," said Jordan Fisher, Standard AI CEO and co-founder. "This is a groundbreaking moment for our company and its mission to shape the way people shop for years to come."

The Standard AI platform is designed to work without using facial recognition, allowing customers to shop knowing that their privacy is respected and protected.

"At Circle K, we are committed to using innovation to improve the customer experience," said Magnus Tägtström, head of global digital innovation at Couche-Tard. "We are excited about using autonomous systems to support our in-store team members and deliver a better customer experience for shoppers."

Circle K is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alimentation Couche-Tard. Laval-based Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,200 stores.