Welcome to the future of shopping – enter, choose, leave. In a world where cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – this is what India’s first automated supermarket, Watasale, a tech-driven startup in Kochi is promising. At this fully-automated store at the city’s Gold Souk Grande Mall, customers get a firsthand experience of what shopping without any human interface feels like. Modeled on Amazon Go, the Kochi-based startup aims to duplicate a similar experience for Indian customers.
The store utilizes a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), camera technology and other sensors enabling it to operate 24/7 unmanned. To pay, all one has to do is install the Watasale app on one’s phone – it automatically scans the QR code when one enters. The customer can choose any product that will be virtually added to the cart in the app or removed if one wishes to return the product. There are sensors installed to do this for the customers. And once a customer walks out, the store debits the amount from their card. With technology that watches so closely, shoplifting and petty crimes in supermarkets can thankfully be things of the past now.
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. Watasale, which opened its first store in Kochi, plans to expand to other cities including Bengaluru and New Delhi in the near future.