UPDATE: Accrelist sets ‘soft launch’ of Singapore unmanned retail outlet using AI

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Accrelist was setting a “soft launch” in Singapore on Friday of its unmanned retail store, called WE9GO, which uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to track inventory and collect data on shopper preferences, it said on Friday.

The shop will also use facial recognition to facilitate payment and radio frequency identification tags to track product movements, it said in a filing to SGX before the market open on Friday.

“We are convinced that this retail concept will be well embraced by consumers and retailers alike given the many benefits,” Terence Tea, executive chairman and managing director of Accrelist, said in the statement.

Tea said that his company’s unmanned store makes shopping efficient for consumers, while for retailers, the technology reduces labor costts and captures data on buyers’ shopping habits and product preferences, allowing them to best use their shelf space and inventory.

But it’s not yet clear whether customers will accept so much reliance on facial recognition.

Customers will need to do a one-time registration via an app for the facial recognition to allow them into the store, Accrelist said. Facial recognition will then be used to make payments via customers’ digital wallets, with customers only able to unlock the exit doors after making payment, it said.

On the question of how the locking and unlocking of doors will be handled, Tea told Shenton Wire in an email on Monday that “RFID sensors can detect that no items have been taken to the payment zone. Customers who do not wish to make a purchase can simply unlock the exit door following a quick facial recognition scan.”

The unmanned store will be located at The Arizon, which is a condominium, located on Geylang Road, it said.

After the full launch, it will be open 24 hours, seven days a week, said Accrelist, which was previously called WE Holdings.

This article was originally published on Friday 28 September 2018 at 8:53 A.M. SGT; it has since been updated to include Accrelist comment explaining the door mechanism.

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