Driven by AI technology from US-based platform AiFi, the 1300+ product store includes cashierless checkouts and facial-recognition-based FacePay. The majority of United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents (83%, 3M, 2022) view AI as an exciting technology for daily life, versus 65% of global consumers.
Opened on June 10, B Store was created by Middle East and Africa (MEA) region company AstraTech and is run entirely on AI technologies, predominantly to ease the annoyance of consumers who cite checkout queues as the most frustrating thing about shopping in physical stores (as flagged by 71% of Americans; Theatro, 2023).
AiFi’s computer vision (first seen in Amazon Go stores) gathers and interprets visual data by tracking the customer from the moment they enter through the shop’s gates and deploying real-time product recognition to ensure accuracy when they add goods to their carts. The computer vision can also be used for stock inventory management.
FacePay’s biometric payment authentication is developed by AstraTech-owned fintech PayBy, which securely links customers’ faces to their bank accounts or digital wallets via the AstraTech-owned Botim app. An AI fraud management system is used to spot any unauthorised activity.
On entering B Store, a customer can have their face scanned to use FacePay, or tap in with their credit card or mobile wallet. Either way, the need for checkout staff is eliminated – a bonus for the 29% of Americans who are put off from in-store shopping by “difficult or rude staff” (Theatro, 2023). The customer is sent their receipt via text message in minutes after leaving the store.