Autonomous Retail – CX Magic
How the First Black-Owned Autonomous Grocery Store Broke the Mold
Jamie and Jilea Hemmings made waves in the industry by proving that autonomous retail is not just reserved for tech giants like Amazon. These tech entrepreneurs already knew their way around the food industry, but their plan was going to require a unique combination of payment technology.
They envisioned a contactless way to get access to locally sourced health foods. However, to disrupt the traditional grocery store experience they needed to offer a high-tech, just walk-in walk-out type of experience without losing the human touch.
A CONTACTLESS AND INVISIBLE
Nourish + Bloom Market
The Nourish+Bloom founders wanted their 1,500-square-foot location to be stocked with SKUs of fresh produce, foods, drinks, and dairy, alongside made-to-order meals from their bistro and for it to all be a contactless and invisible checkout experience.
This hybrid model required a unified payment experience for:
- Autonomous shopping and vending
- Mobile app, BOPIS, & robotic delivery
- Walk-In,Walk-Out (WIWO) checkout
- Vision Checkout kiosks
“We delivered a hybrid walk-in, walk-out model that implements a next-gen user experience with a bistro and WIWO section.”
– Paul Reddy, UST, Vision Checkout GTM Lead
The Technical Solutions
Shoppers enter by scanning a QR code from a UST-built mobile app at a turnstile. The automated product recognition in Nourish & Bloom is performed by SHEKEL Brainweigh’s Product Aware Technology (PAT), based on IoT load sensors, AI models and machine learning algorithms.
Hitachi Vantara provides the store’s 3D LiDAR technology, which tracks the items selected and automatically adds them to a virtual shopping cart. Customers can also order customized hot meals from the Bistro and check out using UST’s Vision Checkout, an innovative self-checkout POS that uses computer vision to identify SKUs.
The Payment Solutions
Hosted Payments Page (HPP) Our HPP is used for the mobile app solution used for the WIWO turnstile that allows the customer to enter the store.
The customer downloads and sets up their N+B mobile app, and enters their payment method associated with their account on the HPP. This creates a secure token which is what will be associated with their account and used for payments moving forward.
The flow for this would be:
- Scan a QR code
- Go select items from the store
- Simply leave when you are done
Unattended Kiosk for Bistro
The unattended kiosk serves the needs of the staffed bistro side of the store outside of the WIWO area. Customers can try samples, grab snacks, pre-made meals, and order hot made-to-order options from the onsite chef.
This solution utilizes the Ingenico Lane 3000 and gives customers the option to pay with EMV cards, NFC wallets like Google Pay or Apple Pay, as well as mobile in-app payment options where customers scan their QR code to pay or enter using the secure token associated with their account.
This integration also utilizes some of our Secure Token settings such as Secure Token Uniqueness to help track who purchases what. In other words, if you purchase an item on the unattended kiosk and you are using the same card that you previously registered with your mobile app, your receipt for that transaction will automatically appear in your in-app order history.
In February 2022, the doors to Nourish+Bloom opened with a cashierless grocery store and bistro in Metro Atlanta. The national media and locals flocked to witness the newest in retail tech empowering shoppers with convenience and choice.
This hybrid next-gen shopping experience is complete with Vision Checkout and Walk-in, Walk-Out payment technology that allows for self-serve, grab & go, BOPIS, and robotic delivery. Within 2 weeks of launch they saw +4k mobile app downloads, 40x jump in social media engagement, and millions of eyeballs in earned media.
The Nourish+Bloom team are customer-obsessed and are constantly enhancing their customer experience to ensure it’s intuitive and frictionless. It’s a good thing that their technology architecture was designed for scale, because Jamie and Jilea Hemmings have their sights set on 500+ autonomous grocery stores across the country.
– Operating 24/7 with +1,500 SKUs
– 4,000+ app downloads in first 2 weeks
– 500+ locations coming soon
Nourish + Bloom in the Media
What our partners said…
“Along with this, voice and gesture AI technology leads to a three-time faster checkout experience for customers of Nourish+Bloom. This hybrid autonomous store technology uses Intel’s Edge optimized technology infrastructure and uses multiple Microsoft technologies, including Azure Cloud.”