NEW YORK — Caper, creator of the Caper Cart, an artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered shopping cart for grocery stores, is expanding its product line of autonomous checkout technology with the rollout of the Caper Counter, a plug-and-play, AI-powered point-of-sale countertop designed for convenience stores and mini markets under 10,000 square feet.
The Caper Counter can be installed without a store retrofit or downtime to operations. The Caper Counter provides a faster checkout shopping experience to minimize human interactions in the store to keep employees and shoppers safer during the pandemic, the company said.
Caper has deployed the Caper Counter in several locations of an unnamed national convenience-store chain, it said.
"When we heard from retailers they wanted a cashierless checkout solution to fit their smaller-footprint stores, we developed the Caper Counter with powerful computer vision technology in a plug-and-play format that is quick to deploy without having to retrofit a store," said Lindon Gao, CEO and co-founder of Caper. "Our first product—Caper Cart—was the first to define how technology can achieve a scalable cashierless solution for large-format stores. With the new Caper Counter, we have again transformed the mundane—a countertop—into something seamless and magical for smaller-footprint retailers."
The Caper Counter uses computer vision and sensor fusion technology to visually detect and "instantly" identify items placed on the Counter and automatically adds the items to the total amount. Shoppers swipe their cards directly on the device or use Apple Pay or other near-field communication (NFC) technology to checkout. The Caper Counter requires a power cord and WiFi password to get the device up and running in a store, the company said. The AI-powered device is ideal for stores smaller than 10,000 square feet and fewer than 10,000 SKUs.
More than 50% of consumers report spending more on convenience to get what they need, with "convenience" increasingly being defined by contactless shopping, on-demand fulfillment and inventory availability, said Caper, citing Deloitte's InSightsIQ June report.
"Customers want retailers to make things easy for them with a faster and enhanced shopping experience and autonomous checkout is a priority," said Kathleen Polsinello, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, Toronto. "In light of COVID and the impact on retailers, cashierless and contactless solutions that can be quickly deployed without significant costs or store renovations are likely to become the winners in the future of autonomous retail."
With Caper Counter and Caper Cart, Caper is developing a software platform that brings the online shopping experience provided by e-commerce retailers to the physical store, bringing features that guide shoppers such as personalized recommendations, in-store navigation, coupons, digital dietary information, recipes and more.
Caper is a New York-based retail technology company that offers retailers an autonomous shopping experience without a significant store overhaul. The company has raised more than $14 million in funding to date with backing from investors including Lux Capital, First Round Capital, Y Combinator and Max Mullen, co-founder of Instacart, among others.