Shufersal opens Israel's first autonomous grocery store

The new 1,080 square foot grocery store will allow consumers to skip the lines after shopping, charging them for their items digitally instead.

  Shufersal's first fully autonomous store cuts the need to stand in line entirely. (photo credit: TOM BARTOV)
Shufersal's first fully autonomous store cuts the need to stand in line entirely.
(photo credit: TOM BARTOV)

For the first time ever in Israel, supermarket shoppers will now be able to pick their groceries off the shelves and walk out without having to stand in line to pay, thanks to Shufersal's new autonomous grocery store.

On Thursday, Israel's largest supermarket chain announced the opening of the country's first autonomous grocery store, which allows shoppers to settle payments and receipts digitally without even lifting a finger. 

Located near the Tel Aviv beachfront, the new 1,080 square-foot Shufersal store is powered by Israeli startup Trigo, which also works to operate autonomous grocery stores in the UK, Germany and the US.

Using AI-powered computer vision and off-the-shelf hardware, Trigo transforms existing supermarkets into fully autonomous and digital frictionless stores. The company then applies its proprietary algorithms to ceiling-mounted cameras which automatically learn and upload anonymized shoppers’ movements and product choices. 

What is frictionless shopping?

Frictionless shopping refers to a collection of technology and processes that are used to make retail shopping easier for consumers. In recent years, the concept has been gaining traction globally as grocery giants scramble to match consumer expectations for convenience and personalization on the one hand while keeping costs down and optimizing inventory and supply chain management.

 Shufersal's first fully autonomous store cuts the need to stand in line entirely. (credit: TOM BARTOV) Shufersal's first fully autonomous store cuts the need to stand in line entirely. (credit: TOM BARTOV)
The new Shufesal store is modeled after a concept first introduced by Amazon in 2018 with their line of Amazon Go storefronts in the US and UK.

Using technology that was already being used in self-driving cars and sensor fusion, Amazon Go allows consumers to enter the store, and scan a QR code through the Amazon app before selecting the products they wish to buy. Once consumers are finished shopping, they leave the store without going through any check-out lines and are charged automatically to their Amazon accounts.

Due to the strong demand from a growing population of some 9 million consumers and a resilient local economy, Israel’s booming grocery retail market is highly competitive, making the shift into frictionless shopping the next natural step.

"Shufersal works constantly to improve the shopping experience using advanced technologies that are among the leading in the world," said Shay Vardi, CTO of Shufersal Group. "The strategic partnership with Trigo will allow our customers the next generation of the autonomous shopping experience for the first time in Israel.”

Regarding their part in the new endeavor, Michael Gabay, Trigo co-founder and CEO said that "Shufersal was the first company to believe in our vision and played a key role in the evolution of our product. The new store is globally unique as it packs in more goods per square foot than any other Trigo-powered store. This gives Shufersal’s customers an autonomous shopping experience that has never been seen in Israel."