Couche-Tard deploys Mashgin AI in 7000 stores

  • June 7, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Alimentation Couche-Tard is to roll out a smart checkout system to more than 7000 Circle K and Couche-Tard stores globally using California-based Mashgin’s AI-powered technology.

More than 10,000 computer vision-based, self-checkout machines will be deployed in stores in the USA, Canada and Europe following successful deployment at nearly 500 locations.

Alimentation Couche-Tard is one of the world’s largest convenience retailers. It will deploy the touchless checkout systems to 7000 stores during the next three years. The AI-powered self-checkout could improve customer checkout times by as much as 400%.

The agreement builds on the deployment of Mashgin technology across nearly 500 Circle K locations in the USA and Sweden since 2020, as well as at Couche-Tard’s retail innovation lab store on the campus of McGill University in Montreal.

The smart checkout system is a compact countertop device that can fit into the existing store layout. It uses computer vision to recognise items presented from virtually any angle and instantly ring them up in a single transaction. Customers place their items on the system, which uses cameras to ring up everything in under a second. There is no need to download an app or find and scan barcodes; shoppers put items down, pay as they normally would, and are on their way in as little as ten seconds, said to be eight times faster than traditional self-checkout.

“We’re committed to investing in and scaling technology that sets a new standard for convenience with our customers and advances our mission to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day,” said Magnus Tägtström, vice president at Couche-Tard. “The smart checkout system powered by Mashgin’s game-changing technology shortens lines, improves the customer experience and frees up our teams to focus on helping our customers. We look forward to introducing this new platform to stores across our network.”

Mashgin chief technology officer Mukul Dhankar added: “Mashgin’s core technology represents a major breakthrough in the world of artificial intelligence. By reinforcing computer vision models with three-dimensional data, we are able to reach 99.9% accuracy when ringing items. This innovation also allows the system to easily differentiate between different sizes of items with a similar appearance, and also makes it flexible enough to recognise grab-and-go foods like pizza or roller grill items that may look slightly different each time. Another key component to our technology is its ability to learn new objects in less than a minute and sync those data across stores, making it possible to set up a new store in under an hour.”

Surveys of first-time Mashgin users at deployed Circle K locations show that 80% of those customers prefer Mashgin to traditional forms of checkout and self-checkout. Recent updates to the system to allow cash use, fuel purchase and key loyalty programmes such as Sip & Save have driven customer adoption. At some Circle K stores, smart checkout has already become customers’ favourite way to transact.

“We’ve been hearing great feedback from our customers in the stores where smart checkout has been introduced, and it’s easy to see why,” said Alex Miller, executive vice president for Couche-Tard. “Mashgin’s platform is incredibly simple to use and highly intuitive for customers. Through this agreement, I am convinced that we will scale a great tool that makes it easy for our customers and team members, saving time and putting our customers and people first in our global operations.”

Mashgin has processed more than 36 million transactions to date and can be found in over 800 locations, including Circle K and other convenience store chains, airports, Fortune 500 companies, and 30 US sports stadiums and entertainment venues.

“Our vision has always been to make people’s lives better and give them back more time in their day,” said Abhinai Srivastava, CEO of Mashgin, “We’ve already saved people over 30 years of standing in line. We’re honoured to work with the fantastic team at Couche-Tard to bring that savings around the world.”

Mashgin and Couche-Tard are both recruiting multiple roles to help innovate retail experiences.

Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,100 stores, of which around 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. With its Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the USA, and it also operates in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics and Ireland.And it has a presence in Poland and Hong Kong. Approximately 124,000 people are employed throughout its network.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Mashgin is a privately held company backed by NEA, Matrix Partners, Susa Ventures and Y Combinator.