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July 30, 2020 9:17 am

Israeli Startup Trigo to Launch Contactless Grocery Stores in Europe and Israel

avatar by Nurit Kadosh / CTech

Shoppers in Osher Ad Supermarket branch in Talpiot, Jerusalem, on Nov. 12, 2017. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

CTech – Israeli retail startup Trigo Vision is set to open its first automated, contactless food store. A source with knowledge of the move told Calcalist on condition of anonymity that the store will launch in a yet-to-be-named western European country in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will be followed by the opening of a second store in Israel, under the Shufersal retail chain brand.

Trigo was founded in 2017 and has raised $34 million to date from venture capital firms such as Vertex Ventures, Hetz Ventures, and Red Dot Capital, as well as from British supermarket giant Tesco. Its platform combines computer vision with a network of cameras that is able to track customers’ movements and the products they gather in real time, with the payment completed via an app on shoppers’ phones, eliminating the need to pay at the cash register before exiting the store. Trigo’s system also aids in automated inventory management.

In Israel, the company is conducting tests in a Shufersal store in Tel Aviv and it is expected to launch its activity in a different store that belongs to the chain. The system works similarly to that of Amazon Go, which is launching a chain of physical stores that enable friction-less purchases, but Trigo’s solution can be implemented in existing stores and doesn’t require special ones to be built.

“Covid-19 impacted us very positively,” said Michael Gabay, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “The supermarket chains were not negatively impacted by the outbreak and have time and money to spend. Additionally, the health crisis has created intense pressure to implement technologies that will do away with lines and crowding. Investors too have realized that food retail is an industry that benefited from the circumstances and have continued to show interest in the company.”

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Trigo’s solution is perfectly suited to a world in which people are required to maintain social distancing. “The demand for the solutions we offer has increased in the wake of the pandemic,” Gabay said, adding that “supermarkets around the world wish to avoid concentrating people in the checkout line and conducting transactions in cash. Consumers are even cautious of placing their fingers on touchscreens or keyboards of self-service checkout counters. Our solution prevents that. Last week we signed an agreement with one of the world’s largest retailers to network their stores with our system.”

According to Gabay, the system’s installation does not require a preliminary financial investment by the retailer, due to financing agreements offered by the hardware companies: “The retailer receives the system and pays for it in installments over many years, so that the profit generated by the system covers the monthly cost.”

The expense of networking a small store is estimated to be around $100,000. Some of the retailers opt not to invest the entire sum upfront and instead reach agreements with the hardware companies to spread the investment over monthly payments, in addition to the operating fee that goes to Trigo.

In Israel, the crisis led to a sharp increase in demand for online purchases. Does that not reduce the need for your solution?

“Israel is an outlier when it comes to online food purchases, reaching double-digit rates. In other countries online food purchasing is a marginal activity. According to data recently released by Goldman Sachs, even after the Covid-19 outbreak, 97.8% of food shopping in Western Europe takes place in physical stores. In the US, online shopping for food holds a 3.7% share. Demand for our solutions for physical stores remains high and is not expected to be harmed,” Gabay said.

“One of the problems with the online customer experience has to do with the fact that many products are missing from the order or they provide customers with alternatives that do not always match their taste. Trigo’s system makes it possible to display the actual stock in the store from which the order is placed, which completely solves the problem.”

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