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Zippin Is Completely Automated, Cashless And Giving Amazon Go A Run For Its Money

Zippin Is Completely Automated, Cashless And Giving Amazon Go A Run For Its Money

Zippin just launched a fully automated and cashless convenience store in San Francisco that rivals Amazon Go

Although Amazon teased out its cashier-less convenience store, Amazon Go back in 2016, new startup Zippin is giving the tech giant a run for its money. The company’s CEO Krishna Motukuri first thought of the idea back in 2014 when he aborted a trip to Trader Joe’s due to the crazy lines. Anyone who has gone to Trader Joes in any of its New York locations can relate to Motukuri’s experience. After working at Amazon from 1999 to 2006, Motukuri teamed up with college buddy Motilal Agrawal to develop what is now Zippin.

The Zippin market just launched an open beta earlier today and is available to anyone who downloads the free iOS or Android app. Although there’s currently only one location in San Francisco, Zippin is the city’s first automated checkout market and really the only true rival Amazon Go currently has. Motukuri and Agrawal are looking to expand the first location to nearly 500 square feet within the next couple of months.

 Photo courtesy of Sean Captian

Photo courtesy of Sean Captian

First, shoppers login to Zippin’s app, which displays a QR code on the phone screen for a scanner once they enter the store. Overhead cameras then follow the shopper around, account for what they pick up and put back and then charge the person’s online account after they are done shopping and leave the store. Although it doesn’t use facial recognition, the company says that its cameras can track people based on body shape and clothing.

In addition to relying on cameras, Zippin also uses weight sensors on shelves to account for its inventory, registering a product whenever it’s picked up. “At any given point, when you pick an item off [the shelf] we know that took place from the cameras overhead as well as the [shelf] sensors,” Motukuri tells Fast Company.

 Zippin CEO Krishna Motukuri demonstrating Zippin's smart shelves. Photo courtesy of Sean Captain

Zippin CEO Krishna Motukuri demonstrating Zippin's smart shelves. Photo courtesy of Sean Captain

Stores that want to open their own Zippin “franchise” will have to make an initial equipment purchase of $20,000 to $25,000. This includes all cameras, shelves, and installation needed to run an autonomous bodega or small convenience store. In addition to the startup costs, owners will have to pay a monthly fee based on square footage and sales volume for Zippin’s image recognition and inventory tracking service.

For more about Zippin, check out the full interview Fast Company’s Sean Captain had with Motukuri here. Let us know what you think about this new type of shopping experience in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to The Sitch for more bodega innovations and other entertaining reads.

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