Following up a one-store soft launch a year ago, Giant Eagle is deploying checkout-free payment technology from Grabango at another four GetGo Café+Market convenience/fuel locations in Pennsylvania.
Berkeley, Calif.-based Grabango said this week that its cashierless solution is being implemented at GetGo stores in the greater Pittsburgh communities of Ross Township, Wexford, Cranberry Township and Mars. These locations were chosen to create a “local network effect,” so shoppers can use the system at multiple GetGo stores in their area, the tech company said.
The Grabango deployment at the O’Hara GetGo store in Fox Chapel, Pa., last September marked the technology’s first commercial launch. Giant Eagle and Grabango had been piloting the solution under a partnership announced in midsummer 2020.
“As we continue doubling down on creating the best in-store experience for customers, we remain drawn to Grabango because of their commitment to delivering an optimized, safe and easy experience for our loyal Giant Eagle and GetGo shoppers,” Rug Phatak, senior director of marketing for GetGo, said in a statement. “Following early adoption success and shopper enthusiasm, we’re excited to roll out Grabango’s checkout-free solution to more customers throughout the Pennsylvania area.”
GetGo uses an app-based version of the Grabango technology (click here to view video). After downloading the fee Grabango mobile app, customers enter the store and start shopping as normal. Computer vision — through small cameras in ceiling fixtures called G-rails — and machine learning technology track the products that shoppers select as they navigate the store and keep a running total of the items to be purchased. When finished, customers scan the code in the app upon exiting the store. As shoppers leave, they can opt to receive digital receipts, which can be accessed as far back as a year.
The customer response has been strong to the initial deployment, according to Grabango and Giant Eagle. Surveys of O’Hara GetGo shoppers found that 88% of customers have high user satisfaction, and over 80% of visits are repeat visits, even as the base of users expands. Since last September, Grabango’s faster, contactless checkout experience has saved GetGo shoppers 10,410 minutes — equivalent to more than seven days — that could have been spent waiting in line, the tech company noted.
Grabango’s system is designed to retrofit existing stores and operate within their planogram and merchandise mix, and the Giant Eagle/GetGo installation represented the first retailer to retrofit and launch checkout-free technology in an existing, large-chain store, according to Grabango. The solution requires no membership or check-in, turnstiles or other special gear at the store entrance, and the system doesn’t use facial recognition, maintaining shopper privacy.
More Grabango rollouts to GetGo stores — and potentially Giant Eagle supermarkets — are in the offing. “We look forward to success at our Fox Chapel GetGo and to rolling out more Grabango-powered convenience and grocery stores in the near future,” Giant Eagle President and CEO Laura Karet stated when Grabango launched at the O’Hara GetGo.
Overall, Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle operates 474 food and convenience stores, including over 200 supermarkets, across western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana.