Fujitsu brings Zippin checkout-free technology to Japan

  • December 21, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Fujitsu is bringing California-based Zippin’s checkout-free technology to Japan.

Fujitsu has become Zippin’s first exclusive distributor in any market and will start offering Zippin’s checkout-free technology by March 2021, with the aim of creating an AI smart store business for the micro market.

In the future, the partners plan to strengthen their cooperation and consider expansion in geographies outside Japan. The agreement was concluded after a successful field trial Fujitsu and Zippin conducted with the Lawson convenience store chain in Japan earlier this year.

The partnership enables Fujitsu to build a retail offering to deliver a new customer experience by September 2021, leveraging Zippin’s checkout-free SaaS platform, with a focus on cashier-free, cashless operations to save staff time and increase their bandwidth, of particular importance during the pandemic. Features may include identity verification with multi-biometric authentication. The combined technological expertise of Fujitsu and Zippin could accelerate the digital transformation of any retail store.

There is growing demand for purchasing experiences and service styles in retail stores as retailers navigate the increasing pervasiveness of cashless transactions, address labour shortages, and embrace a new normal that demands safety for essential workers and shoppers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this collaboration, Fujitsu and Zippin aim to accelerate retail digital transformation in-store and provide innovative services to consumers by leveraging Fujitsu’s customer base and integration. They plan to combine digital technologies, such as multi-biometric authentication developed by Fujitsu Laboratories with Zippin’s experience in implementing AI-based checkout-free technology for the Japanese market.

“We are tremendously excited about our partnership with Fujitsu,” said Krishna Motukuri, CEO of Zippin. “Zippin’s technology has attracted a lot of attention from US, European, Asian companies. We chose Fujitsu as our reseller partner because they are a highly trusted general ICT vendor and we are confident that Fujitsu will drive the market forward in Japan.”

This partnership should help cement Zippin’s position in the provision of checkout-free technologies. Its technology takes into account consumer behaviour and combines cameras and sensors to track the movement of products in-store.

Under this agreement, Fujitsu will start providing Zippin’s checkout-free technology, either directly or through local partners, to the Japanese market. Fujitsu will also develop a way to deliver a new buying experience, including a personalised service for consumers, and a managed service to accelerate the retail business globally, available as SaaS in the market by September 2021.

Leveraging this, Fujitsu will support the retail industry, in which real engagement with customers remains an important factor, to increase customer satisfaction and create a retail business model to improve profitability by providing a queue-less, frictionless, wallet-less and even smart device-less purchasing experience.

“We are committed to providing new value to the retail industry and are thrilled to have Zippin’s advanced technology and expertise,” said Hirohisa Yamaguchi, corporate executive officer at Fujitsu. “We will continue to proactively partner with best-in-class start-up companies in order to accelerate digital transformation for not only Japan, but for the global retail industry.”

Since February 2020, Fujitsu and Zippin have been participating in a proof of concept (PoC) conducted by Lawson. Based on the results of the PoC, Lawson has been working with the two parties to identify business and technical issues.

“With this PoC, we are confident with its potential and are looking forward to greatly expanding our partnership with them,” said Kunitsugu Makino, deputy senior vice president of Lawson. “In today’s rapidly changing environment, a checkout-free store that can eliminate face-to-face payment, well reflects the needs of the recent situation. We expect the collaboration of Fujitsu and Zippin will infuse new breath into the retail industry.”

Zippin’s patent-pending approach uses AI, machine learning and sensor fusion technology to improve the consumer experience, banishing checkout lines and self-scanners. The platform leverages product and shopper tracking through overhead cameras, as well as smart shelf sensors.

Founded by industry veterans from Amazon and SRI with backgrounds in retail technology, AI and computer vision, Zippin is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by Evolv Ventures (Kraft-Heinz), NTT Docomo, Nomura Research Institute, SAP, Maven Ventures and Core Ventures Group.