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AiFi thinks small with checkout-free NanoStore

US startup, AiFi, has unveiled the NanoStore, pitched as the world's first plug-and-play, 24/7, checkout-free format for convenience-type store operations which can be branded by any retailer.

The offering taps in-store sensor fusion and AI technology and delivers real-time analytics.

“NanoStores fit into the trend of retail stores getting smaller and smaller. We envision a future where we push these tiny automated stores as close as possible to where people live - essentially providing the last 100-feet shopping venue to serve local communities. NanoStores are much faster and more convenient than any e-commerce or home delivery option," says Steve Gu, CEO and Co-founder, AiFi.

In fashion

Checkout-free stores are all the rage right now. Sainsbury’s has been testing out a mobile shopping service at its Clapham North Station Local store in London. And there are now nine Amazon Go stores up and running, in Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. Amazon is said to want to open 3,000 around the world in the next three years.

Various startups are also jostling for prominence, including Grabango. Spanish bank BBVA’s investment arm, Propel Venture Partners, recently led a $12 million Series A funding round involving the PayTech venture. It has has now raised $18 million and is looking to grow its product development team and expand client store deployments. 

“Our goal is to forever change the way people interact with things. As Arthur C. Clarke taught us, advanced technology can be implemented so well that it feels like magic,” says Will Glaser, Grabango’s Founder and CEO.

“We don’t want to be the centre of attention, but rather for our systems to work so smoothly in the background they are completely taken for granted.”