Żabka leads the race for stand-alone stores in Europe

Żabka, the largest chain of convenience stores in Poland, says it now has the largest chain of stand-alone stores in Europe.

The company announced this milestone in a Press release Tuesday (January 18), saying it launched 25 artificial intelligence (AI)-powered stores under the Żabka Nano brand. That’s 10 more than the 15 ‘Just Walk Out’ style stores Amazon has opened in the UK

“The innovative concept enables fast shopping without cashiers, lines or cash to sell products that precisely match customer locations and demographics,” the company said in the release.

“Stores operate in multiple formats, such as freestanding shipping container-inspired stores, traditional brick-and-mortar outlets, and stores within a store; each leveraging AI-powered computer vision technology created through close cooperation with American tech company AiFi.

The first Żabka Nano store opened in June last year. Tomasz Suchański, CEO of Żabka Group, said the company plans to launch a dozen more stores this year. The chain says its stores are in a variety of locations, including city centers, train and metro stations, universities and large-format stores.

“We are constantly working to develop and improve the unique concept of Żabka Nano,” said Tomasz Blicharski, Managing Director of Żabka Future, in the statement. “We are focusing on its flexibility – we are able to open more self-contained outlets both in high-traffic locations, such as strict city centers or metro stations, as well as in high-street stores. We are also one of the first in the world to develop a concept for entering the store with a payment card.

Last November, British grocery chain Sainsbury’s became the first store outside the United States to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

See also: Amazon urges Sainsbury’s shoppers to ‘just step outside’

These stores allow shoppers to scan their smartphones as they enter the markets, as security cameras monitor what they take from the shelves. The charge is then issued to a customer’s pre-determined payment method upon exit.

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Mary I. Bruner