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Alimentation Couche-Tard announced yesterday that it "will deploy more than 10,000 Mashgin Touchless Checkout Systems branded as "Smart Checkout," to over 7,000 of its Circle K and Couche-Tard stores during the next three years. The AI-powered self-checkout system developed by Mashgin will improve customer checkout times as much as 400%, driving customer experience forward while allowing store staff to focus their time on helping customers."

The Mashgin Touchless Checkout System is described this way:  "a compact countertop device that fits easily into the existing store layout. It uses computer vision to recognize items presented from virtually any angle and instantly ring them up in a single transaction. Customers place their items on the Mashgin Touchless Checkout System, which uses cameras to ring up everything in under a second. There is no need to download an app or find and scan barcodes; shoppers simply put items down, pay as they normally would, and are on their way in as little as 10 seconds – eight times faster than traditional self-checkout."

"We're committed to investing in and scaling technology that sets a new standard for convenience with our customers and advances our mission to make our customers' lives a little easier every day," said Magnus Tägtström, Vice President, Global Innovation at Couche-Tard, in a prepared statement.

KC's View:

Couche-Tard and Circle K has been making interesting moves of late, like partnering with e-grocery start-up Farmstead to "explore innovative supply chain, distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and marketing models."  Now this smart checkout rollout, which it says will allow "store staff to focus their time on helping customers" … which is not what one usually thinks of c-store employees doing.

The aim seems to be to redefine what convenience retailing is all about, repositioning the stores to have a much larger impact on the markets they serve.  Big swing … but that's probably what's necessary these days.