A New Vision for Modern Retail

Standard AI isn't just building computer vision technology. We're building a complete retail operating system. More on this from our CEO and co-founder, Jordan Fisher.

by Jordan Fisher

February 2, 2023

Acquiring Skip is about providing retailers with the complete package.

We’ve heard for years that retailers want vendors who can do more. They find it frustrating when they have to piece together a tech stack with dozens of vendors—and rely on dated legacy solutions with few alternatives. Just as shoppers seek a seamless experience on the front-end, retailers are looking for one on the back-end.

Shoppers interact with convenience stores in so many different ways. Apps, cash, cards, ordering ahead, pre-paying for fuel, asking for restricted items—it’s important to meet them where they are and accommodate their preferences. And as their expectations for convenience increase, so does the size of the tech stack. Unfortunately, satisfying shoppers often requires building a tech stack around a smorgasbord of vendor solutions. 

I’m a mathematician by training, but there’s a joke in the MBA world that only two types of business models exist: bundling and unbundling. In other words, you either give people everything they want or the one thing they need. In the fast paced world of retail, doing everything is what you need. That’s because, unlike the Walmarts of the world, most retailers don’t have the time to dedicate entire teams of people to the vendor selection process or the ecosystem integration needed to select technology solutions piece by piece.

At Standard AI, we’re on a journey to expand what we do with our AI-powered computer vision platform. We’re building the one-stop operating system for today’s modern store. Powered by computer vision, retailers now have the ability to understand shopper behavior, assist staff with operations, understand inventory levels in real-time, more effectively personalize the digital experience, and so much more. And they can do it with a single product: Standard.

Thriving During a Labor Squeeze

Self-checkout is now a critical piece of a store operating system.

Retailers need kiosks today. They’re under intense pressure to transition to a self-service model, improve service even during the current labor squeeze, and redeploy people to focus on more productive tasks. Self-checkout is very good at this. It’s also able to be deployed immediately across all stores in a fleet. 

But retailers worry about its relevance in the next three-to-five years. No self-checkout vendor provides a way to connect to the future of AI-powered, computer vision platforms that the largest retailers are now installing on the ceilings of select stores. We’ve heard from retailers selecting a kiosk vendor that they worry their kiosk investment will become obsolete as they continue to roll out autonomous.

That’s when we saw an opportunity to make a difference.

Combining the Experience Shoppers Know with the Experience They Love

With the announcement that we are acquiring Skip, Standard AI is creating the first self-checkout that integrates with autonomous retail. After closing, this means retailers will be able to quickly transition to a self-service experience across their portfolios while being future-proof for autonomous.

For shoppers, this meets them where they are in a creative way. Self-checkout has been around since the 1990s, and shoppers have grown increasingly comfortable with it. When shoppers show up at a store with autonomous checkout, they can go to the self-checkout kiosk like they always have. But now, while they’re scanning their products, we can let them know they can skip that step by downloading the autonomous checkout app. This way, the shopper chooses when they’re ready for that next step. And we’ve seen that once shoppers make the switch to autonomous, they never want to switch back.

For retailers, the same kiosk used for self-checkout becomes a cornerstone of the autonomous shopping experience once they roll out our camera system. No dollar is wasted: retailers can confidently deploy self-checkout without worrying their investment will be obsolete once they roll out autonomous. Retailers can also rest assured that their kiosk investment dovetails into the full power of Standard’s Vision OS^ platform, unlocking capabilities no other kiosk provider can: such as real-time out of stock detection, employee efficiency tools, best-in-class security features, and eCommerce-level insights into how their whole store is driving sales.

Under the hood, the acquisition will bring a crucial portion of the retail tech stack under one umbrella. Standard AI is now the only Retail AI vendor with a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system and enterprise-grade integrations. This gives us tie-ins to loyalty, back-office systems, and more. Fitting with our ethos of being seamless, Skip enables us to bring a complete package to retailers and make their lives even more convenient with minimal onboarding. 

In the end, we’re not just building computer vision technology at Standard AI—we’re building a complete retail operating system. And we’re optimizing that product to be as low-friction as possible for both shoppers and retailers.

I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Retail AI. Together with Skip, we’re creating a new vision for modern retail.

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