A Japan delicatessen, THE BAKE STORE, enables AI Recognition on its iPad POS system

September 8, 2021

THE BAKE STORE recently relaunched a new concept delicatessen selling not only well-cooked food and cheese, but also baked pastries and selected grocery products in the neighborhood of Osaka in June. Along with its relaunch, THE BAKE STORE deployed Viscovery AI recognition system to accelerate checkout and improve customer experience.

Checkout Becomes Simple with AI
Due to THE BAKE STORE’s large product selection which includes freshly made pastries, packaged salad, sandwiches, meat products, and bottled and canned drinks, it often takes store clerks time to identify, look up and enter items into the existing tablet POS system. Furthermore, THE BAKE STORE frequently creates new food and pastries items which makes it even more demanding on the store clerks to remember the names and looks of all the items in the store.

To help shorten customer wait time and assist store clerks with faster checkout, THE BAKE STORE decided to implement Viscovery AI-recognition solution to automate the checkout process and improve productivity.

Checkout becomes simple with AI.

All non-labeled and labeled products can now be automatically identified within 1 second and sent to the store’s existing POS with a simple click. This greatly reduces checkout time and avoids lengthy queues.

“The AI system can identify different kinds of products whether it’s fresh baked goods, packaged salad, sandwiches or bottled drinks. It helps us to reduce up to 80% of the time spent on identifying and entering items into POS. Overall, we can speed up the checkout process, using only half of the time checking out each customer.” One of the store staff Mr. Nomura said.

▲ THE BAKE STORE sells various kinds of product including salad, omelet, bottled drinks and more
After the AI quickly recognizes the product items, the system transfers the identification result to the iPad POS. This collaboration between the iPad POS and the AI speeds up the checkout process.
▲ Viscovery AI recognition system helps THE BAKE STORE recognize different kinds of product within 1 second

Smooth Adoption Despite the Pandemic
At first, THE BAKE STORE was worried if the AI system can be successfully implemented as Viscovery is located in Taiwan and is not able to meet face to face. The concern was quickly addressed during several online meetings with Viscovery. “The implementation process went very well. From specification discussions to deployment, all the tasks were completed smoothly online. Though it could have been nice to meet in person, we are quite satisfied with the cooperation, especially during this difficult time.” Mr. Suzue, IT systems manager, said.

“Before contacting Viscovery, we were also worried about how their AI recognition system can be connected to our existing iPad POS. Fortunately, the deployment was as simple as plugging in a barcode scanner. We were able to get the system up and running after receiving their camera kit within a couple of days. The AI recognition system is so easy to use that our store clerks picked it up quickly and started using it right away.” Mr. Suzue said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Viscovery provided online support to THE BAKE STORE to seamlessly integrate their in-store iPad POS with AI technology.
▲ Viscovery vision kit on the checkout counter in THE BAKE STORE

Provide Customers Peace of Mind with a Screen Showing AI Recognition
To maximize the benefits that AI brings, THE BAKE STORE added a second display for customers. In addition to the display for cashiers to operate and view the AI recognition result, the second display is for customers to check the result simultaneously. Every check-out item is displayed clearly, providing customers with peace of mind and enhancing the checkout experience.

Many customers are very impressed and amazed by the AI recognition. THE BAKE STORE believes this also helps enhance its brand image.

In addition to integrating the iPad POS with AI, THE BAKE STORE added a customer-facing screen to display the AI image recognition result clearly, which enhances customers' peace of mind.
▲ Shoppers are able to confirm the check-out items with cashiers simultaneously and intuitively

Overcome Recognition Challenges: Lighting Variations and Very Similar Looking Products
Another element that enhances the shopping experience in THE BAKE STORE is its elegant interior design. The big windows bring in an abundance of natural lighting and create a relaxing and warm ambience. However, the lighting change during the day greatly alters the looks of items under camera.

“We never thought that even light variances would impact AI recognition. However, as we observed Viscovery’s recognition performance between daytime and nights, we found that light did not affect the result much. The recognition performance is stable and good. Apparently, Viscovery’s AI model has overcome the challenge.” Mr. Suzue shared.

“Yet, it’s really hard to recognize the similar looking items. Even cashiers sometimes cannot correctly distinguish them.” Mr. Suzue acknowledged.

“Viscovery actively discussed any potential solutions with us. For example, by just creating a minor visible difference for the product such as placing a small round sticker on the item or a topping change, it would allow AI to accurately identify the item.” Mr. Suzue shared.

▲ Take the above hamburgers for example, by making some differences on closely resemble products enables AI to recognize correctly

Streamline the Whole Ordering and Checkout Process
Mr. Suzue also shared another large benefit from using the AI recognition system. Before the implementation, ordering and checkout are done separately by two different clerks. The store clerks in the ordering area need to write down customer orders, and hand the notes along with the products to the checkout clerks, who will then enter the items into the POS system.

As bread product items increased, THE BAKE STORE needed a solution to streamline the whole process. And they are glad that now Viscovery AI recognition system helps to save the manual effort and time of identifying, writing down and entering items into the POS system.

THE BAKE STORE looks forward to the day when the pandemic slows down, and expects to have more customers come and experience how AI technology improves customer experience while savoring the high quality cheese and meat and delicious baked goods.