Original article published on Vending Times by Emily Jed
SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Kiser is at it again. The former chief executive of Canteen and board member of Compass Group has partnered with Swyft to bring to market a portfolio of innovative frictionless retail systems that utilize computer vision, neural networks and deep learning technology. Kiser is well-known for his involvement in rolling out one of the very first micromarket solutions.
Since his involvement in the release of unique automated retailing concepts, including the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, Kiser teamed up with Swyft Inc. chief executive and cofounder Gower Smith to found Swyft Food Service Automation, a food and beverage division of Swyft solely focused on improving the way consumers shop. Kiser’s latest range of Nano Shops will be unveiled at this year’s NAMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 24-27, in Booth #205.
The new Nano Shop systems utilize active vision recognition, neural networks, artificial intelligence and deep learning to create fully unattended retail stores similar to grab-and-go Amazon Go. The range of systems includes ambient cabinets and refrigerated coolers that come with secure lockable doors to authorize access to shop, allowing for secure satellite deployment. The doors can be removed or remain unlocked to allow operators to create cashier-less stores.
“At NAMA, the company will show the range of cabinets, coolers, and even the first Air Screen cooler ever equipped with sensory technologies,” said Kiser, chief executive of Swyft Food Service Automation. “I am excited to be launching these unique retail systems that truly improve the way consumers shop. And we are enabling a fresh approach to merchandising, such as concepts like the Love Box ATM and Farmer’s Table, which we’ll have on display at the show. These systems provide operators with new opportunities for revenue growth.”
Swyft first showed a prototype of its systems at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York in January. Its Nano Shops allow consumers to authenticate with a credit card or app and then take or return items and be billed instantly only for the items received.
The Nano Shops let any consumer shop at the store, compared with other systems that require downloading of a mobile app or biometric opt-in prior to shopping. Consumers can swipe their credit card and wait for the authorization. Once the card authorizes, the door will unlock, allowing consumers to select products and put products back, before closing the door to complete the transaction.
Consumers can interact with products just like they do when in a traditional retail environment. They can read nutritional information or find out more about the products and are only billed for what they take. Swyft also demonstrated that there are no sensors on the products or shelving, meaning there is no need for extra cabling, devices or setup time to configure a merchandise assortment. Products, pricing and shelf labels can be placed anywhere the operator chooses, simplifying the merchandising process.
Operators can configure multiple cabinets together into one convenience destination, which allows consumers to shop at multiple cabinets and only receive one receipt and one bank transaction record when they decide they are finished with shopping. Consumers are billed instantly for their transactions and have various methods to receive a receipt.
The convenient, flexible, cost-effective and open nature of the systems is changing the vending industry just as micromarkets did a decade ago, officials emphasized.
“For years, Swyft and our subsidiary ZoomSystems attended NAMA showcasing our robotic technologies with brands such as CVS,” said Swyft chief executive and cofounder Gower Smith. “With online giants now threatening to eat everyone’s lunches we decided to leverage our technology war chest to respond. We are excited to have Mike Kiser present our expanded solutions and to support vend operators as they take them to market.”
Swyft Inc. is a global leader in automated retail for brands and retailers. Its technology and services are designed to increase sales and profits and enhance the consumer experience using cutting-edge hardware and robotic solutions, cloud software and scalable operating partners.
Swyft has developed next-generation systems for clients including CVS, Pokemon and Dollar Shave Club and has been amassing a significant portfolio of patented retail automation technology. Another Swyft subsidiary, ZoomSystems, is well known for operating the Best Buy Express, Proactiv, Nespresso and Benefit Cosmetic vending networks.
Officials said Swyft’s Nano Shops run on its software platform, providing operators the same data security, integrity and world-class management systems used by Fortune 1000 retailers and brands, according to the company. The Nano Shops are open to any retailer or operator to serve corporate campuses, hospitals, universities, restaurants, convenience chains and even big box retail.
“While online giants attempt to selfishly gain market share by using their technology for their own closed network of stores, Swyft has chosen to partner with retailers and operators to help them compete,” officials commented.
Swyft’s advanced software effectively manages data to allow operators to make decisions to improve merchandising and performance of unattended environments. The platform is enhanced monthly incorporating deep learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.
Through acquisition, Swyft has accelerated its technology leadership position in retail automation with the technologies and intellectual property of businesses such as Vigix, Utique and ZoomSystems now complementing its own developments. All clients of Swyft and its subsidiaries, including clients of Swyft Food Service Automation, can now benefit from any of the technologies in its portfolio, the company pointed out.
At NAMA, Swyft also plans to show its parcel locker solutions for secure and efficient package storage, using the same Swyft platform to automate pickup and returns of online orders. Swyft offers an open API that allows operators and retailers to message consumers a one-time pickup code via push notifications and email that their item is ready for pickup and leverages a customer service with 24/7 call center and technical support.
The turnkey, flexible locker solutions are designed to improve retailers’ store operations by eliminating the need to touch orders twice, and retail consumers no longer need to wait in line to collect their orders.