Sensei opens the first European autonomous store with retailer Sonae

Sensei and Sonae launch the first autonomous store in Europe open to public

  • The technology eliminates scanning products, waiting in lines and contact payments
  • This is the first step towards a new future for the entire retail industry
  • The store opens on 26th may

Sensei, the autonomous retail tech company is today opening the first autonomous store opening to the public, in partnership with Sonae, a portuguese retailer.

Sensei is consolidating its position as a European provider for autonomous retail, enabling stores to be scan and queue-free. This is the first autonomous store to open in Europe delivered by a European technology company. 

A frictionless shopping experience

Continente, a food retailer in Portugal, part of SONAE group, opened Continente Labs, its first autonomous store powered by Sensei autonomous technology solution. Located in central Lisbon, it opens to the public on the 26th of May. Shoppers will be able to experience a frictionless and seamless shopping experience. Customers simply download the Continente Labs App, which acts as a digital payment method. The app generates a QR code that enables users to enter the store, pick their items and leave, without the need to scan products or stay in lines waiting to pay. The digital receipt is received in the app almost immediately after the purchase. It’s a fast and efficient process from entering the store to leaving, with the typical constraints associated with queues and physical payments completely removed.

After a challenging year when people have avoided crowded spaces and opted for virtual shopping experiences for safety, enticing people back to physical stores is a challenge for the retail sector.  With this in mind, autonomous stores are more relevant than ever, meeting consumers expectations on contactless experience, time saving and convenience while providing an experience free from any hassle.

Innovating through a close collaboration

The store opening is a milestone for both Sensei and Sonae, whose close collaboration has delivered this innovative format, a landmark event for the entire retail industry. The integrated system developed by the tech company allows store operations to be more efficient, as it brings the benefits of digital efficiency into the brick and mortar store, augmenting the physical experience with digital seamlessly. Alongside the benefits for the consumers, staff also have tools at their disposal to analyse shelf inventory and replenishment act on it with real time insights. 

The future has arrived

Sensei’s technology relies on an integrated system that blends cameras, sensors and AI algorithms. Together, these elements enable the automation of both new and existing stores, providing a fast, convenient, and seamless shopping experience.

Consumers’ movements are tracked as they add or remove items from their shopping list, so the virtual basket is updated in real-time as the product is picked or returned to the shelf. Shoppers can rest assured their identity remains anonymous while shopping and privacy is completely respected while no biometrical or face recognition are used.

Vasco Portugal, CEO and co-founder of Sensei, addresses this as “an historical event. The store of the future is a concept of the past, as we’ve just set autonomous retail as a reality. We are proud to enable a completely transformed experience for both customers and retailers, who are seeking better use of their  time, convenience and business optimization. We’re thrilled to partner with such an experienced retailer as Sonae and to count on their trust to pursue a path of pioneering innovation within the sector.”

“Since we met Sensei at the end of 2018 we have been extremely excited and committed to together rethink the store shopping experience. It has been a pleasure and a constant learning process for both sides, having solved complex tech challenges and continuously improved our business processes. The opening of this store marks an important milestone in what we are sure to be a long and fruitful partnership between both companies”, said Frederico Santos, Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Sonae MC. 

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