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Nourish + Bloom Market, which describes itself as "the first African American owned autonomous grocery store in the world," said yesterday that it "has partnered with UST, a leading digital transformation solutions company, to launch their first frictionless grocery store in the United States."

The store is located in Fayetteville, Georgia, and is described this way:  " The store is approximately 1500 sq. ft (autonomous section, HYBRID section, Bistro, back-office facilities) and stocks more than 1500 SKUs. Nourish + Bloom Market offers items such as produce, meats, baked goods, dairy and prepared meals, alongside everyday grocery items with no checkout. Anchored in the Nourish + Bloom market is the Bistro offers freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, including sandwiches, salads, and healthy rice bowls. The highest priority is given to local brands to reduce the carbon footprint."

Jilea Hemmings, Founder and CEO of Nourish + Bloom Market, said in a prepared statement, "The idea of the store occurred to us during the pandemic. We wanted to provide a solution for customers where they wouldn't have to wait in line or touch anything while checking out. With UST's help, we have successfully created a Hybrid autonomous technology to offer that solution and combat food insecurities in underserved communities. We are confident that this technology will change how customers shop in the next 3 to 5 years."

Here's a video created by Nourish + Bloom:

Here's how the technology is described:

"The store uses UST Vision Checkout for large merchandise assortment outside the autonomous store. UST Vision Checkout is a Self-checkout POS that uses Computer Vision to identify SKUs. Along with this, Voice and Gesture AI technology leads to a 3X faster checkout experience for customers of Nourish & Bloom. UST Vision Checkout also has bar code scanning and touch screen functionality that takes care of specific merchandise sections like age-restricted products, frozen assortment, and fruits and vegetables as well as Bistro. Nourish & Bloom has also deployed UST Scan & Go solution for specific events and customer types."

KC's View:

Nourish + Bloom has an ambitious vision - it says that it wants to open 500 of these stores around the US.

Can you feel the momentum?  It seems like there has been a sea change in just the last few months, with the testing of checkout-free technologies gaining a level of traction now that it appears (let's hope) that the pandemic may soon be in our rear view mirrors.

These are the kinds of things that drive the business forward, and that will differentiate ambitious and aggressive retailers in a marketplace that does not reward timidity.