No cash counters, staff: AI-powered store opens in UAE

Walk into this convenience store using an app on your phone, pick up your desired items and step out without having to queue up to pay at the cash counter.

Welcome to the first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-operated store in the region, opened by retail major Carrefour at the Mall of the Emirates on Monday.

Carrefour City+ convenience store was inaugurated by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding and Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail. The store provides seamless and contactless shopping using AI technology.

Customers have to use the app on their phones to access the store. Once inside, every item picked up will be automatically added to a digital shopping basket. Purchases will then be completed without any store staff interaction.

The store stocks over 1,300 items, including snacks, beverages, packaged food and food-to-go meals as well as basic essentials.

Nalla Karunanithy, chief digital officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said one of the reasons to launch this innovative shopping experience is that customers are free from the long queues at checkout counters.

“You tap to go in, put your mobile in your pocket, just pick whatever you want to and simply walk out. We have over 1,300 items at the store. We will continue to monitor customer behaviour and accordingly work on it further. This convenience store is designed for people on the run for a quick bite before lunch or before they go home,” he said, adding that the prices are in line with the convenience store rates.

Spread over 75sqm of selling area, the store is equipped with 97 cameras. “The camera does two things. First, it tracks every single product through AI. Whenever it looks at the product, it tries to predict the product with 99 per cent accuracy. Second, it tracks the motion of a person and identifies the product,” he added.


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How to shop at Carrefour City+

> Open your MAF Carrefour UAE app or download it on iOS or Android

> Click on ‘City+’ under ‘More’

> Log in with your account details or register for a new account

> Select your payment card or enter a new one

> Click on ‘Access’ to generate a QR code to enter the store

> Pick items to automatically add them to your virtual basket and place them back to remove them

> Exit from the gate to complete your shopping

> Your bill amount will automatically be charged to your card and your digital receipt will be available on the app

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