Monday 27 January 2020

Irish software company Everseen rings up the first checkout-free shops


Stock image
Stock image

Gabrielle Monaghan

Two checkout-free shops will open in the centre of Dublin and Cork later this spring, using technology developed by Cork-based software firm Everseen.

Customers at the two convenience stores - likely to be operated by Musgraves - will be able to make purchases without encountering any tills, instead approving payment via an app. The checkout-free outlets will use a network of smart devices on shelves to detect when customers take or return items, and use facial recognition to check if customers are registered to pay with the app. If a customer returns a product, it will be deducted from their virtual shopping basket.

Everseen beat online giant Amazon to the punch when it opened a concept checkout-free shop on Cork's French Church Street for two weeks. Amazon was due to open a till-free outlet called Amazon Go in Seattle in early 2017, but glitches at the store meant shopping was only available to Amazon employees. Amazon Go finally opened to the public in January 2018.

Alan O'Herlihy, the founder and chief executive of Everseen, says the Cork company is in a better position to roll out checkout-free technology because it has been working on the solution for longer and can do so at a lower cost. Before developing technology called 0line (pronounced "zero line"), which eliminates the need for customers to queue at checkouts, it created software that, using a combination of video analytics and artificial intelligence, can detect when, where and why items are not scanned at retail checkouts and send an alert - as well as an image of the non-scanned product - to staff within three seconds.

Read more: The world of payments is changing and Ireland has the ability to lead the way - Visa Ireland chief Philip Konopik

Since 2012, Everseen has been testing that product on billions of transactions. That software was trialled at 100 retail outlets in Ireland and is now used by five of the world's top 10 grocery retailers, including in the US.

Alan O’Herlihy, chief executive of Everseen, which has held talks with major retailers
Alan O’Herlihy, chief executive of Everseen, which has held talks with major retailers

The opening of Amazon Go "is positive news for our business because they've created a market in which there's no supply," O'Herlihy said. "They built something that cost a fortune and is not scalable, but we reached the scalable stage last year. We are the only ones in the market who can supply this technology and all the retailers are looking at us. It's like Uber coming after the taxi world."

Everseen has held talks with some of the world's largest retailers to deploy 0line in their outlets and last year outlined plans to roll out the technology in as many as seven shops in Ireland this year.

Read more: The Corkman behind technology set to consign shop checkouts to history

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