College Opens Retrofitted Checkout-Free Store
Students at the University of Houston (UH) can now enjoy checkout-free convenience, thanks to a partnership that the university and its dining services partner, Chartwells Higher Education, have forged with San Francisco-based startup Standard, provider of what it calls the only checkout-free solution that can be quickly and easily installed in existing stores, without making any changes to shelving, lighting, layout, inventory management processes, and more.
Open 24 hours a day, Market Next at Technology Bridge, which debuted on Oct. 8, sells a range of snacks, coffee, beverages, microwavable items, sandwiches, and more, with students able to walk in, take what they like and walk out without having to scan anything or wait in line to pay. According to Standard, the fastest full shopping trip recorded with its camera-based system is 2.3 seconds.
“Students’ tastes change constantly, and we’re well equipped to handle that,” noted David Riddle, VP of operations for Rye Brook, New York-based Chartwells and district manager for UH System Dining. “But their shopping preferences evolve, too, and we want to continue providing new and unique shopping experiences that are unexpected on a college campus. This is the future of shopping, and with autonomous checkout through Standard, we’ve made it as easy, safe and convenient as possible for students to come in, get what they need and go.”
Chartwells is currently working with Standard to retrofit various stores across North America: A convenience store featuring the checkout-free technology has already opened in North Carolina, and another is set to open in the Canadian province of Ontario.
The UH store was retrofitted with Standard’s ceiling-mounted cameras and its proprietary AI and machine-vision software that accurately associates each shopper with the items they pick up to purchase, without using biometric data.
“Market Next is the first retail store in the world to be retrofitted for a 100% cashierless, checkout-free experience,” said Standard co-founder and CEO Jordan Fisher. “Our platform is the only system on the market proven to retrofit an entire retail experience. Innovative retailers like Chartwells use the AI-powered Standard platform to enable shoppers to grab any product they want and simply walk out, without waiting in line. We are excited to partner with Chartwells to deliver this groundbreaking technology to more locations around the country.”
At Market Next, Standard’s platform integrates with Chartwells’ existing mobile ordering app, enabling seamless payment.
“Checkout-free technology is an innovation that will make our students’ lives a little easier and a lot safer,” observed Emily Messa, UH’s associate vice chancellor and associate VP for administration. “This is the new standard for campus safety that is important to students today and for the foreseeable future. That’s why we will plan to convert additional Market stores on campus to this technology in the coming year.”