Flash Report

Fung Retailing Group’s Circle K Showcases First AI Checkout Experience in Hong Kong

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Coresight Research

Key Points

  • On March 13, 2019, Fung Retailing Group’s convenience-store chain, Circle K, rolled out Hong Kong’s first AI-powered checkout solution using image recognition. 
  • The checkout counter can recognize products without a barcode, RFID or packaging.
  • This pilot project represents a first step for Fung Retailing Group and JD.com to create smarter and more convenient retail.

Fung Retailing Group’s Circle K convenience-store chain has unveiled an AI-powered in-store checkout solution. The launch is a result of the strategic partnership between Fung Retailing Group and JD.com signed in 2018. The AI-powered checkout solution is the first AI checkout using image recognition technology in Hong Kong. 

Customers can complete the AI-powered checkout process in seconds with three simple steps: 

  • Place products on the smart checkout counter 
  • Press the A.I. Recognition (A.I.R.) button on the cashier screen to scan the products 
  • Make payment with an Octopus card, a stored value payment card originally designed for use for mass transportation but which is now used for many payment types.
Source: Fung Retailing Group

The checkout counter can recognize up to five products within one second with an accuracy rate of over 97%, reducing the overall in-store checkout time by 30%, according to Fung Retailing Group. Leveraging image recognition technology, the checkout counter can recognize products such as drinks, tissue, snacks and even fresh bread without a barcode, RFID or packaging – over 500 stock keeping units. Staff can add new products into the system by using the same checkout machine to scan the products, and the database is updated within a day. This technology is currently installed at the A.I. Retailing Zone in two Circle K stores in Hong Kong:

  • Shop 126 1st Floor, liberté place, No. 833 Lai Chi Kok Road, Kowloon
  • Shop Nos. 9-12 on Ground Floor and Unit Nos. 9-11 on First Floor, Excelsior Plaza, Yee On Building, No. 26 East Point Road, Hong Kong

Insights

As technology continues to play a critical role in transforming the retail landscape, retailers who are able to capitalize on this trend will have a competitive edge. In particular, this kind of technology gives grocery and convenience-store retailers the ability to eliminate friction in the shopping process for frequent, nondiscretionary purchases. This pilot project represents a first step for Fung Retailing Group and JD.com to create smarter and more convenient retail. 

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