Israel’s Trigo, the company using computer vision to power checkout-free shopping, is making its US debut in 2022. The Tel Aviv-based startup has announced a partnership with Wakefern Food Corp, the largest retail-owned cooperative in the US, to develop a pilot that offers Trigo’s grab-and-go shopping tech at a local supermarket.
Wakefern, the logistics, distribution, and merchandising arm for ShopRite stores, is comprised of nearly 50 member companies that independently own and operate close to 360 retail supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners.
The agreement is to pilot an autonomous supermarket making use of Trigo’s AI-based frictionless checkout technology in New Jersey, Trigo CEO Michael Gabay tells NoCamels.
“Trigo is proud to work with some of the largest grocery retailers around the world, so partnering with Wakefern Food Corp., was a natural step for the company,” said Gabay in the company’s announcement last week. “By helping Wakefern convert some store formats, or develop new ones that are exclusive to their brands, we can help them accelerate their growth within the market and pave the way for frictionless shopping in the future.”
“With Trigo’s frictionless technology, Wakefern Food Corp. is opening up access to cutting edge innovation for our members,” said Charlie McWeeney, VP of Technology, Innovation, & Strategy, Wakefern Food Corp. “We are excited to pilot Trigo’s solution and offer our consumers the ultimate in checkout convenience.”
In November, Jenya Beilin, Trigo’s Chief Operating Officer told NoCamels that Trigo is in advanced negotiations with a number of grocery retailers in the US who are interested in the company’s checkout-free tech, admitting that partnership with popular, large-scale European retail chains like REWE in Germany and Tesco in the UK was “a good boost for those retailers that are kind of on the fence about our tech, to see that we deliver.
Trigo finished 2021 strong, securing a number of robust partnerships in Germany, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands. Just weeks before the start of the new year, Trigo announced it had teamed up with German discount supermarket giant Netto Marke-Discount on a hybrid checkout-free grocery store in Munich, Germany. Earlier in the year, Trigo had partnered with REWE Group, one of Germany’s largest food retail chains, to deliver a “pick and go” shopping experience to customers in downtown Cologne.
In October, Trigo partnered with Tesco, the UK grocery giant that had previously invested in the company, to open its first fully autonomous cashierless grocery store in one of London’s busiest commercial centers. That same month, Aldi Nord, the German-owned supermarket operator, tapped Trigo tech for a checkout-free store trial in Utrecht, The Netherlands in early 2022.
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Before teaming up with stores in Europe and the US, Trigo had established a partnership with Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal in 2019.
“All of the store openings announced over the past few months have come as a result of deep collaborations with our grocery retail partners, on everything from technology to UX and privacy. All the partnerships are proceeding well and the feedback is positive. We are expecting to open a large number of stores this year,” Gabay says.
The Amazon Go factor
Founded in 2018 by brothers Michael and Daniel Gabay, Trigo developed a solution using computer vision technologies and AI-powered algorithms to equip existing grocery stores with autonomous capabilities. Trigo transforms existing supermarkets into fully autonomous or hybrid digital stores, combining AI tech with ceiling-mounted cameras to create a seamless shopping experience. Shoppers use an app to scan a QR code as they enter, and then will be free to pick up items and leave without having to go to the till. The purchase amount is automatically deducted via the registered payment method stored in the app.
While Trigo has been thought of as being something of a rival to Amazon Go, the chain of convenience stores in the US and UK operated by online retailer Amazon, Trigo executives have consistently declined to call it a competitor because the company has built its own stores to house its checkout-free tech, rather than work with retailers that have existing locations and shops.
“Leveraging Trigo’s innovation, grocery retailers — who are not global tech giants — will now have the means to establish a strong autonomous presence in the industry. Trigo provides access to cutting-edge technology that levels the playing field for independent grocers to compete. Moreover, we’re converting stores to autonomous and not just opening new stores. So far all of the Amazon autonomous stores were new stores that build from scratch to fit its technology,” Gaby explains.
He says the grocery industry “is the one space where traditional retailers can take on Amazon and win.”
“The chains we’re working with have thousands of existing stores, they already have the real estate and the infrastructure to roll this out faster than Amazon.”