An Indian startup has launched a fully automated supermarket store in Kochi, on similar lines as Amazon Go stores in the US, where the shoppers would not have to stand in long-winding queues or interact with cashiers. The fully-automated store named ‘Watasale’ was launched last year by a Kochi-based startup Nayasale Retail Pvt Ltd at the city’s Gold Souk Grande Mall.
The name, Watasale, has been coined to signify the whole user experience of going to a retail outlet and purchasing items sans a queue for billing. This has been the pet project of five friends who come from technology and retail backgrounds. It has taken Richu Jose, Rajesh Malamal, Subash S., Dileep Jacob and Vinci Matthews three years of brainstorming and trial runs in a garage to finally launch the store.
Shoppers at Watasale have to download the app and scan the QR code generated to enter the store. Then, what all the customer has to do is, keep adding items into a bag and walk out when they are done.
The store at the Gold Souk Grande is rather small, with two racks on either side, one for toiletries and the other for groceries. It runs on a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer vision and sensor fusion, the same technology that is employed in self-driving cars.
Unprecedented data supports its ability to give out complete information on the store’s inventory. Stock-in and stock-outs get updated instantly. It is just a click away for the customers to find out whether the product they want is available or not, even before walking into the store.